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A team of physicists have provided what has been described by the journal Nature as the “clearest evidence yet” that our universe is a hologram.
The new research could help reconcile one of modern physics’ most enduring problems : the apparent inconsistencies between the different models of the universe as explained by quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity.
The two new scientific papers are the culmination of years’ work led by Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan, and deal with hypothetical calculations of the energies of black holes in different universes.
The idea of the universe existing as a ‘hologram’ doesn’t refer to a Matrix-like illusion, but the theory that the three dimensions we perceive are actually just “painted” onto the cosmological horizon – the boundary of the known universe.
If this sounds paradoxical, try to imagine a holographic picture that changes as you move it. Although the picture is two dimensional, observing it from different locations creates the illusion that it is 3D.
This model of the universe helps explain some inconsistencies between general relativity (Einstein’s theory) and quantum physics. Although Einstein’s work underpins much of modern physics, at certain extremes (such as in the middle of a black hole) the principles he outlined break down and the laws of quantum physics take over.
The traditional method of reconciling these two models has come from the 1997 work of theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena, whose ideas built upon string theory. This is one of the most well respected ‘theories of everything’ (Stephen Hawking is a fan) and it posits that one-dimensional vibrating objects known as ‘strings’ are the elementary particles of the universe.
Maldacena has welcomed the new research by Hyakutake and his team, telling the journal Nature that the findings are “an interesting way to test many ideas in quantum gravity and string theory.”
Leonard Susskind, a theoretical physicist regarded as one of the fathers of string theory, added that the work by the Japanese team “numerically confirmed, perhaps for the first time, something we were fairly sure had to be true, but was still a conjecture.”
- The 82-year-old, from Bogota, had what is known as ‘lithopedion’
- Also called a ‘stone baby’, it’s when the fetus develops outside the womb
- The woman will now will undergo surgery to have the fetus – mostly comprised of dead tissue – removed
The 82-year-old, from Bogota, had what is known as ‘lithopedion’, or stone baby, when the unborn child develops outside the womb.
The woman was originally thought to be suffering from a stomach bug,
But an scans revealed lithopedion, where the fetus becomes calcified.There are fewer than 300 cases reported in medical literature.
The woman will now will undergo surgery to have the fetus – mostly comprised of dead tissue – removed.
An ultrasound showed nothing then radiography of her abdomen revealed a tumour in her abdominal cavity.
Dr Ramirez explained: ‘This happens because the fetus does not develop in the uterus because it has moved to another place.
‘In this case, the abdominal part of the woman is not a viable (place) and this is what happened, a calcified fetus because the body is generating defence mechanisms and it is calcified until it stays there encapsulated.’
The patient is thought to have been transferred to another hospital to have the lithopedion removed.
In 2009, a 92-year-old Chinese woman was found to have a 60-year-old ‘stone baby’ inside her.
The first reported case of lithopedion was Madame Colombe Chatri, a 68-year-old French woman.
An autopsy after her death in 1582 revealed she had been carrying a fully-developed stone baby in her abdominal cavity for 28 years.