Hey, how do you feel about gravity? Seems real, right? Knock stuff over, it falls down. But according to new research, that might just be because we all live in a holodeck.
This requires some explanation: As we all know, string theory is popular in physics and for ginning up psuedo-science for movies. There’s a problem, though; it doesn’t line up with Einstein’s theory of gravitation. This is a problem, as it essentially means that one theory or the other is wrong, which has some pretty serious implications for, uh, science as we know it.
In 1997, though, Juan Maldacena, a theoretical physicist, proposed an alternate theory; Einstein was correct, because gravity doesn’t actually exist. We only think it does because the strings that make up the universe at a subatomic level vibrate in ten dimensions, creating what amounts to a holographic projection of a 2D plane.
In other words, gravity isn’t actually “real”, it’s just that Einstein accurately described how we see what string theory creates. Think of it as the difference between actual physics and the physics in a video game; video game physics have a discreet set of rules that must be followed, but that physics on the screen is not actually “happening.” It’s a simulation of physics that fits the rules of science, but isn’t actually real.
Have a headache yet? Don’t worry, it’s about to get worse: This might actually be true, according to preliminary research discussed in Nature:
In one paper2, [researchers computed] the internal energy of a black hole, the position of its event horizon (the boundary between the black hole and the rest of the Universe), its entropy and other properties based on the predictions of string theory as well as the effects of so-called virtual particles that continuously pop into and out of existence. In the other3, [they] calculate the internal energy of the corresponding lower-dimensional cosmos with no gravity. The two computer calculations match.
In other words, unless these guys screwed up the math, there’s some preliminary evidence that we live on the holodeck. Except the projections have already broken out and are running rampant across the Enterprise. Thanks, science.