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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Taxpayers paying for experiment to find out if the universe is a hologram

Posted by on Aug. 28, 2014 at 4:48 PM
  • 74 Replies

Do we live in a 2D hologram? There’s no short answer, but physicists believe it may be possible. The holographic principle β€” a property of particle physics’ string theory β€” proposes that information about a region of space can be ascertained by the information on the surface that surrounds it β€” much like you can determine, say, currents in water by the eddies on the surface.

But does this actually mean that our universe is an optical illusion created by light diffraction? Fermilab has just switched on a machine that may help a team of researchers figure it out: the Holometer, the most sensitive instrument ever built to measure the quantum jitter of space.

http://www.cnet.com/news/is-the-universe-a-2d-hologram-fermilab-intends-to-find-out/

According to their own economic impact studies: 94% of their funding comes from the federal government, with the bulk coming from the Department of Energy. 

Add this to the stupid stuff our Government funds list.

by on Aug. 28, 2014 at 4:48 PM
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Replies (1-10):
LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 4:49 PM
Um. Why?
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
jcrew6
by Platinum Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Most likely it funds some special interest group...

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: Um. Why?


So_Devious20
by Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 4:56 PM
Finally. Something else to be upset about. You know besides our tax dollars going to hungry families.
LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 4:59 PM
2 moms liked this
Being upset by food stamp fraud and thinking the system needs an overhaul is in no way even close to not wanting to help legitimately needy people.

Quoting So_Devious20: Finally. Something else to be upset about. You know besides our tax dollars going to hungry families.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
jcrew6
by Platinum Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Who's upset?  I think it's worth discussing stupid shit our government funds...  

Ohh and tax dollars for those who need a help up from a bad situation is not a stupid expenditure.  Let's get that clear in the beginning, what do ya say?

Quoting So_Devious20: Finally. Something else to be upset about. You know besides our tax dollars going to hungry families.


Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 5:08 PM


Quoting jcrew6:

Add this to the stupid stuff our Government funds list.

This is pure science, not applied.

And, on average, investing in pure science has a rather good rate of return for the country doing it.

-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Aug. 28, 2014 at 5:09 PM
2 moms liked this
At least its not a dumb ass creation amusement park
Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 5:09 PM


Quoting jcrew6:

Do we live in a 2D hologram? 

What are you measuring?

We are measuring properties of space and time at the very smallest scales.

How small?

Very small! The "Planck length" (discussed more below) is 10βˆ’35 meters. One millimeter is 0.001 or 10βˆ’3 meters, so the Planck Length has a lot more zeroes after the decimal place. The Scale of the Universe 2 is a nice way to visualize length scales. Starting at 1 meter, you can zoom "out" to the estimated size of the Universe (1027 meters) and then zoom back "in" to fundamental particles. Notice that after the "smallest" particle, there is still a long way to zoom in before reaching the Planck length.

What new effect are you looking for?

The new idea we are testing states that positions (and time) are not precisely defined. When you measure the location of an object in two directions at the same time, the measurements have extra jitter.

We are seeking to measure a possible very slight random wandering of transverse position. This "holographic noise" could be caused by a new quantum uncertainty of space-time.

Why call it Holographic noise?

The theoretical ideas are similar to how ordinary holograms work. When you look through a hologram printed on a two-dimensional surface, a three-dimensional projection appears. Looking at this projection carefully, you see that it is a little fuzzy. This fuzziness is related to how small the pixels on the two-dimensional surface are. The smaller the two-dimensional pixels, the sharper the details are in the three-dimensional projection.

What is the basic strategy?

Michelson Interferometer measures the x and y positions of the beam splitter (half silvered mirror) simultaneously. We monitor how much the beam splitter moves due to ordinary effects, such as vibrations from ground motion. We place two of these interferometers close to each other, so that the jitter from holographic noise from the two interferometers is coherent. This helps us measure the very small effect of holographic noise.

As shown in this figure, we will build the interferometers so they can operate in a "nested" or "back-to-back" configuration. The nested configuration maximizes the amount of coherence between the two interferometers. On one of the interferometers we can flip the direction of one of the arms while keeping everything else identical as much as possible. The holographic noise in this "back-to-back" configuration will not be coherent, and serves as an important test that we have correctly accounted for all sources of noise in the experiment.


What does holographic noise sound like?

Holographic noise is purely "white noise": it has the same amplitude at all frequencies. The sensitivity of our interferometers depends on frequency. At low frequencies we are 100% sensitive to the noise, and this decreases to zero at the frequency of a round-trip of light from the beam splitter to the end mirrors (c/2L=3.75 MHz). At higher frequency there are overtones. Our ears are not sensitive to these frequencies, so we slow the noise down by a factor of 6000 to produce this audio file.

Holographic Noise wav file

Where does the word "holometer" come from?

Holometer is short for "Holographic Interferometer". The twin correlated Michelson interferometers perform a holistic measurement of the quantum state of position of bodies over an extended volume of space-time. "Holometer" is also an archaic word. According to the Oxford English dictionary, in 1696, a Holometer was "A Mathematical Instrument for the easie measurement of any thing whatever."

Where are you building this experiment?

The Holometer is being built at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL) as Experiment E-990. We are reusing a portion of a tunnel that previously carried a polarized meson beam to MP9. This overview shows the location of the arms of the interferometers.

When did you start, and when will you be done?

In 2008 we had discussions with experients that use large interferometers to measure gravitional waves. The purpose of these discussions was to determine whether they had already detected this effect, or if they could be modified in a simple way to be more sensitive to it. Based on their advice, we started building prototype interferometers in May, 2009, which led to the design and construction of the full experiment. During the summer of 2013, we expect to be commissioning the detectors. Although it is possible that we will complete the measurement very quickly, we would not be at all surprised if it takes us a year or more to fully understand the apparatus so we can make a reliable measurement.



jcrew6
by Platinum Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Federal Tax Dollars Haven't gone to a Creation Amusement Park, have they? 

Quoting -Celestial-: At least its not a dumb ass creation amusement park


Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Aug. 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Theory

What is the Planck scale?

Physicist Max Planck proposed a set of units based on the values of fundamental physical constants. These constants are:

  • Speed of light   c=3.0Γ—108 meters/second;
  • Gravitational constant   G=6.7Γ—10βˆ’11 meters3/kilogram/second2;
  • Reduced Planck Constant   β„=h/2Ο€=1.1Γ—10βˆ’34 Joule seconds where h is the Planck constant;
  • Coulomb constant   1/(4πϡ0)=9.0Γ—109 kilogram meter3 /seconds2/Coulomb2 where Ο΅0 is the permittivity of free space;
  • Boltzmann constant   kB=1.4Γ—10βˆ’23 Joules/degree Kelvin.

Note that each of these constants is associated with a fundamental physical theory: special relativity (c), gravity (G), quantum mechanics (ℏ), electrostatics (Ο΅0), and statistical mechanics (kB).

We then combine these constants to define the Planck length, time, and mass:

  • Planck Length lP=ℏG/c3βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆš=1.6Γ—10βˆ’35 meters
  • Planck Mass mP=ℏc/Gβˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆš=2.2Γ—10βˆ’8 kilograms
  • Planck Time tP=lP/c=ℏG/c5βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆš=5.4Γ—10βˆ’44 seconds.

These units seem to be limits on physically possible values. c is the "speed limit" for how fast information propagates. Similarly, the lP could be a fundamental limit to measurements of position.

What does the Planck Scale mean for quantum mechanics and gravity?

The graph below shows how the Planck scale relates to quantum mechanics and gravity. The vertical axis is length: wavelength for quantum mechanics, or radius of a black hole for gravity. The horizontal axis is energy: The energy of the light quanta for quantum mechanics, or the mass for gravity. Both axes are logarithmic. On the left, Einstein's photoelectric formula E=hc/Ξ» is a straight line with slope of negative 1. On the right, the radius of a black hole event horizon RBH=2GMBH/c2 is a straight line of slope positive 1. At some size, the photoelectric E will be equal to the MBHc2. Set this length l=RBH∼λ and solve for l=2hG/c3βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆš which is close tolP=hG/2Ο€c3βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆ’βˆš. So, on the vertical axis of this plot, the realms of quantum mechanics and gravity "meet" at about the Planck scale. A black hole with a radius below the Planck length has less mass than a single quantum of that wavelength.

What is the holographic principle?

The amount of water a pitcher can hold is simply its volume. We ordinarily think that the capacity of a container is related to its volume. However, the holographic principle states that the capacity of a container is related to its surface area rather than its volume.

This is similar to how ordinary holograms work. We look through a two-dimensional plate to view a three-dimensional scene.


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