This Incredible Device is Testing Space-Time to See if it Might be Pixelated

The theory is that if these researchers discover that the resolution of space-time is not continuous, but is actually pixelated, then we might be living in a two-dimensional hologram. As strange as that sounds, scientists at Fermilab have actually built a device that can measure the resolution of space-time and tell us if we are living in The Matrix.

According to a fantastic article on GeekWire, so far, it hasn’t yet found evidence that we aren’t living in 3D:

The experiments are being conducted at Fermilab in Illinois, using a gnarly-looking device known as the Holometer. The apparatus is designed to measure the smoothness of spacetime at lengths down to a billionth of a billionth of a meter. Put another way, that’s a thousand times smaller than the size of a proton.

The standard view is that the fabric of reality is continuous – but some theories propose that spacetime is pixelated, like a digital image. If that’s the case, there’s a built-in limit to the “resolution” of reality.

The Holometer uses a pair of high-power laser interferometers to look for tiny discontinuities in movements that last only a millionth of a second. Such discontinuities would provide evidence of holographic noise, or quantum jitters, in spacetime.

This week, a research team reported finding no discontinuities. But Craig Hogan, a professor at the University of Chicago who heads Fermilab’s Center for Particle Astrophysics, said that doesn’t yet rule out the holographic hypothesis.

“This is just the beginning of the story,” he said in a Fermilab report on the experiment. “We’ve developed a new way of studying space and time that we didn’t have before. We weren’t even sure we could attain the sensitivity we did.”

In fact, the level of sensitivity of this instrument is really quite amazing, in that it can filter out random vibrations like large trucks driving by and other jittery “space-time noise.” See the amazing article on the GeekWire website for more incredible details.


Source: – “Holometer finds no evidence we’re living in a Matrix-like hologram … so far

Featured Photo Credit: Reidar Hahn / Fermilab