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The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics

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At the beginning of the 21st century, physics is being driven to very unfamiliar territory–the domain of the incredibly small and the incredibly heavy. The new world is a world in which both quantum mechanics and gravity are equally important. But mysteries remain. One of the biggest involved black holes. Famed physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that anything sucked in a black hole was lost forever. For three decades, Leonard Susskind and Hawking clashed over the answer to this problem. Final…

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Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram(r/Physics)

How much information could you put in a given volume of space? You could write the information on DVDs, or blurays, and clearly you could fit quite a lot of information. Not only that, but obviously if you double the volume of space available, you could fit twice as many blurays in that volume, and thus double the amount of information in that space.

So intuitively, the volume of space is proportional to the maximum amount of information that you can put in that space.

But, let’s consider further. Presumably we could one day do better than bluray, so what’s the upper limit? At what point could we truly not get any more information into a space?

Aha! A black hole!

We surely can’t do better than a black hole! So, let’s make a black hole that exactly fits the given volume. The amount of information in that black hole is the maximum possible amount of information in that volume.

But now say that we double the volume available. How much information do we need to add to the black hole to make it grow to fit that new volume? Double?

Strangely.. no. The amount of information in a black hole is proportional to its area, not its volume. Why? Basically because information cannot be destroyed. So there can’t be any information inside the black hole since everything inside the black hole is destroyed! So that must mean that all the information that you threw into the black hole is actually on the surface! (See the book reference at the end for a long discussion on this. Arguments over this point were called the “Black hole wars”, and it has long and very interesting history).

So wait, what does this mean? The maximum amount of information that can fit in a given region of space is proportional to the area of the boundary of that space!? Not the volume!?

This is getting weird.. so let’s give it a strange name analogous to something else that encodes 3D volume information in a 2D plane – holograms. Now lets sensationalise the title a bit, and viola – the universe is a hologram.


Okay, at this point I’ve only explained the background, and not this new research.. honestly I’ve got quite a bit of journey to go to show that we can now explain why that (the information in a 3D volume is proportional to its 2D boundary) can be mapped to analogously to a 10 dimension space… and I’d probably get it wrong. (Interesting point – you can prove why using string theory, without actually assuming that string theory is correct. Again see book below)

If anyone is interested in learning more and getting the answer from Susskind himself, read his book on the topic – The Black Hole War. You can get (cough) an audio book version. It’s an easy read (pop science) and lots of fun.

Edit: Updated to give an explanation for information being encoded on the surface of black holes

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Physics

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2

Sum Of Upvotes

475

Amazon Price

$4.93

NSFW Product

SFW

Book Binding

Paperback

Type Code

ABIS_BOOK

Book Author

Leonard Susskind

Book Edition

Reprint

Book Publisher

Back Bay Books

Book On Amazon

The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics

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Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram

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