In an absurd twist to everything you know and love, physicists tackling what sounds like a question for the chronically stoned—“What if the entire universe is just one big hologram?”—have come to a tenuous conclusion that, yeah, that might actually be the case.
The initial hologram-universe theory was proposed in 1997 and claimed that the universe is made of vibrating strings in ten dimensions. But since fundamental forces complicate everything, the universe in which we think we live is really just a projection of a true reality with fewer dimensions and no gravity. (Confused yet? It gets better.)
Despite seeming batshit crazy, the projection theory proved to be a surprise hit among scientists, as it seems to resolve differences between quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity. But as shiny as the theory is, it lacked proof—until now.
Despite not being hard evidence, the journal Nature calls new work on the theory “compelling evidence” for the idea that we’re all just living in a giant holodeck. A group of scientists at Ibaraki University in Japan has released two papers on similar topics. One measures the internal energy, entropy, event horizon, and a bunch of other properties of a black hole according to classic, hologram-less string theory. The other measures the internal energy according to the rules of the mirror-universe-that-really-might-be-the-actual-universe.
They got the same results.
Make of the findings what you will. We’ll just be over here having an existential crisis.