Since the 1970s, String Theory has been fiddled with and tooled around as a means of unifying all fundamental forces and all forms of matter. There’s always been a problem bringing together the calculations of how our world operates on a large scale and of what gravity can affect, and the small quantum world of calculations where things begin to get weird and nearly unpredictable when dealing with small particles like atoms and electrons. The two world’s seem incompatible. The main problem has always been figuring out how gravity fits in to both worlds.
Well, in 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed a model where the mathematical world of String Theory operated as a hologram and the larger world of the cosmos operated on more of a flatter realm where there is no gravity.
This proposed model is exciting to some physicists because it allows them to translate data from the larger world of Einstein’s general and special relativity to the smaller quantum world of calculations, and vice versa. It was a way of solving the inconsistencies between the two areas of physics. However, the actual proof has always been elusive.
Maldacena’s model proposes that gravity arises from very small vibrating objects called “strings.” These strings have 9 dimensions of space and one dimension of time. The number of dimensions in string theory has been toyed with over the years. Some theoretical physicists have subtracted dimensions to work with their calculations, others have added dimensions. All in an effort to explain how the world that works on a large scale can translate to what happens in the world that is seen in the very small and infinitesimal scale. It’s like a detective hunt for an explanation when the clues reside in a world too small to be seen by a magnifying glass.
Well, recently, Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan have posted two papers on the arXiv repository that provides compelling evidence that Maldacena’s proposal may have some merit.
In the first paper, computations were made of the internal energy of a black hole, the position of its event horizon (the black hole’s boundary), its entropy properties based on string theory, and its affects on virtual particles. In the other paper, Hyakutake and his collaborators calculate the internal energy of the corresponding lower-dimensional properties without gravity.
The two calculations matched up.
“They have numerically confirmed, perhaps for the first time, something we were fairly sure had to be true, but was still a conjecture — namely that the thermodynamics of certain black holes can be reproduced from a lower-dimensional universe,” says Leonard Susskind, a theoretical physicist at Stanford University in California, also among the first theoreticians to explore the idea of a holographic universe.
Maldacena notes that neither of the model universes studied by the Japanese team resemble our own. The cosmos with the black hole has 10 dimensions and 8 of those dimensions form a sphere. The lower dimensional world has only one dimension and contains all the quantum particles attached to each other.
That being said, it’s numerical proof that one day our Universe of large gravitational properties can be described in the quantum theory.