The holometer, or how to measure “what” is made of space and time

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    The holometer, or how to measure "what" it is made space and time

    The holometer machine is more accurate ever built to date. So precise that its creators believe it can measure the way in which is formed the space and time.

    Its inventors say, quite justifiably, that ever built anything so precise . holometer is a machine that can not be too flashy. It’s actually a set of lasers and mirrors mounted on a special holder with a coil around and a drum there. But this “simple” conceals a device capable of measuring things that last a millionth of a second and are a thousand times smaller than a proton . The question is, what do we need to measure it so small and so fast, in this universe? The answer itself impressive: the nature of space-time itself

    The universe pixelated

    One of the foundations of quantum mechanics explains that energy and matter are not continuous. . No. The smallest unit of energy, known as “the,” and we can identify photons are indivisible and essential packages of our universe. Also, they can split atoms to the level of elementary particles (leptons, quarks and bosons), which are indivisible. But time and space? Do you also have a fundamental indivisible unit If so, the information of the universe, therefore, is subject to a finite amount

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    If the space has a fundamental unit, subject to a finite amount, as if they were “pixels” But how do we measure such an idea? To do this, the team of Craig Hogan built his now famous holometer consisting basically of a pair of laser interferometers placed side by side and sent a ray of one kilowatt through a gap separating two arms of forty meters each one. The light is reflected, then back to the grid where the two beams are recombined. If there is no movement, the rays will be joined in the starting one. If instead there is some fluctuation, it will be perceived in the beam . These fluctuations are analyzed to understand the nature of space (and time).

    The work carried so far has been to basically eliminate the “quantum” noise, ie, any device on measures that might spoil the data , as the noise of street cars (several hundred meters) or any electrical signal. And after a year of research the team has something up his sleeve: the experiment with holometer seems to be marked by a very high level of “significance”. Does this mean that we live in a universe “pixelated? It is too early to say.

    Do we live in a hologram?

    One of the most contentious issues of physics to I’ve never faced, writing about science is the conception of the holographic universe. It’s not an easy to understand concept. It all starts in 1993 with Hooft (and a few years later with Susskid), who speculated about quantum theory gravity: what if in fact all the information contained in some space can be defined and contained in its “walls” This would mean that the information would have a structure in two dimensions


    So far holometer not managed to conclude any hypothesis If this would apply to the universe, could be interpreted like a hologram 2D ​​whose information is contained in “walls”. Roughly speaking, because I tell you it is not easy to understand. But in fact, to date, all you got this hypothesis is made much echo and answer some questions. The concept of a universe that actually consists of two dimensions is a theoretical question that explain some of the phenomena that we can not understand using rule sets that we know so far.

    In general, principles holográficos They are closely related to the attempt to reconcile the hypotheses or theories that speak of gravity with quantum physics. But holometer has not yet managed to conclude anything about adamantly . Of course, it brings every day that passes, more and more information about the most intimate nature of the universe. And the experiment at Fermilab still trying to unravel the secrets of quantum space and time. Because, as we said, there had never been a device with such precision before. So we must be attentive to their future discoveries.


    The holometer, or how to measure “what” is made of space and time
    December 8, 2015

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