“It is in the theory of perception that we have established our bond, or the lie I should say, for which we kill. We are nothing without our image. Without our projection. Without the spiritual hologram of who we perceive ourselves to be or rather to become, in the future. When you are lonely, I will be lonely too. And this is the fame.” -Lady Gaga

One of the more remarkable discoveries in human technology is the hologram. Instead of mapping a snapshot of our three-dimensional world from a single perspective onto a two-dimensional surface, we can create a light map of the entire three-dimensional space that gets projected onto a two-dimensional surface. Even though we lose a dimension, the two projections — the 3D volume and the 2D surface — contain the same amount of information.

Image credit: laboratory setup of the creation of a hologram, via Epzcaw of Wikimedia Commons, under a c.c.a.-3.0 unported license.

Is it possible, then, that our 3D Universe is simply the surface or boundary of a higher-dimensional “volume” that represents the fuller extent of our Universe? According to the holographic principle, it just might be. Inspired by string theory and supported by a number of mathematical curiosities, it’s entirely plausible that there really are extra dimensions to our Universe, and we might even be able to learn about them through the data available in our 3D space.

Image credit: Alex Dunkel (Maky) and Polytope24 of wikimedia commons, under a c.c.a.-by-s.a.-3.0, of the AdS/CFT correspondence between the interior volume and the boundary of the surface enclosing it.

Go find out more about the curious case of whether our Universe is a hologram on this week’s Ask Ethan!

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