A friend sent me the picture and asked me what it was. He is from Caltech so I’ll have to attribute the image credit to them Anyway, let me ask the same to you. What on earth is this mess? At first sight, it seemed to one of those pictures where you squint your eyes really hard (or sometimes crossing them works better) to see what 3D image is hidden in the background. This is not that type of picture. It presents a case for the Holographic Principle.
According to the Holographic Principle, the most information you can get from this image is about 3 x 1065 bits for a normal sized computer monitor. The Holographic Principle, yet unproven (key caveat), states that there is a maximum amount of information content held by regions adjacent to any surface. Therefore, counter-intuitively, the information content inside a room depends not on the volume of the room but on the area of the bounding walls. The principle derives from the idea that the Planck length, the length scale where quantum mechanics begins to dominate classical gravity, is one side of an area that can hold only about one bit of information. The limit was first postulated by physicist Gerard ‘t Hooft in 1993. It can arise from generalizations from seemingly distant speculation that the information held by a black hole is determined not by its enclosed volume but by the surface area of its event horizon. The term “holographic” arises from a hologram analogy where three-dimension images are created by projecting light though a flat screen. Beware, other people looking at the featured image may not claim to see 3 x 1065 bits — they might claim to see a teapot.
So how does this relate to you? Well some physicists believe we’re living in a giant hologram — and it’s not that far-fetched. The idea isn’t that the universe is some sort of fake simulation out of The Matrix, but rather that even though we appear to live in a three-dimensional universe, it might only have two dimensions. The thinking goes like this: Some distant two-dimensional surface contains all the data needed to fully describe our world — and much like in a hologram, this data is projected to appear in three dimensions. Like the characters on a TV screen, we live on a flat surface that happens to look like it has depth.