It turns out we may all be living in an infinitely large Holo-deck. That’s basically the conclusion a group of researchers reached after analyzing what is thought to be the first-ever observed evidence that the universe could in fact be a gigantic holographic projection.

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holographic universe, big bang theory, theoretical physics, university of southampton, applied physics reports that a team of theoretical physicists and astrophysicists from the U.K., Canada and Italy made the discovery while researching irregularities in the “cosmic microwave background,” or the “afterglow” of the Big Bang. In the course of that research, which involved using the theory of cosmic inflation, they found substantial evidence to support a holographic explanation of the universe, which actually holds as much weight as the traditional explanations for these irregularities.

As notes, the idea of a holographic universe first emerged in the 1990s, and involves the theory in which all the information that makes up our 3D reality (including time) is contained in a two-dimensional surface, on its boundaries.

Scientists from Canada’s Perimeter Institute and University of Waterloo, the U.K’s University of Southampton and Italy’s University of Salento jointly made this most-recent discovery using advanced telescopes and sensing equipment that can detect data hidden in the microwaves left over from the Big Bang.

As Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton, Kostas Skenderis explains: “Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions (and your perception of time) in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field. The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded.”
It’s essentially like watching a 3D movie in a theater, when the images appear to have depth, along with width and height, but they are ultimately still coming from a two-dimensional screen.

Related: “Largest-ever” new map of universe shows 1.2 million galaxies

“Holography is a huge leap forward in the way we think about the structure and creation of the universe.,” adds Skenderis. “Einstein’s theory of general relativity explains almost everything large scale in the universe very well, but starts to unravel when examining its origins and mechanisms at quantum level. Scientists have been working for decades to combine Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum theory. Some believe the concept of a holographic universe has the potential to reconcile the two. I hope our research takes us another step towards this.”


Images via NASA and University of Southampton