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A Thin Sheet of Reality: The Universe as a Hologram

Date & Time

Friday, June 3, 2011
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
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Location

NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

What we touch. What we smell. What we feel. They’re all part of our reality. But what if life as we know it reflects only one side of the full story? Some of the world’s leading physicists think that this may be the case. They believe that our reality is a projection—sort of like a hologram—of laws and processes that exist on a thin surface surrounding us at the edge of the universe. Although the notion seems outlandish, it’s a long-standing theory that initially emerged years ago from scientists studying black holes; recently, a breakthrough in string theory propelled the idea into the mainstream of physics. What took place was an intriguing discussion on the cutting-edge results that may just change the way we view reality.

On the Blog: Space Is an Elaborate Illusion


More videos from this series: A Thin Sheet of Reality

This program was part of The Big Ideas Series, made possible with the support of the John Templeton Foundation.

Moderator

  • John Hockenberry

    John Hockenberry is an award-winning journalist with twenty-five years experience in radio, broadcast television and print. He is the host of WNYC and PRI’s The Takeaway, a correspondent for PBS Frontline, and a noted presenter and moderator at conferences such as TED, Aspen Ideas, and the World Science Festival. More »

Participants

  • Gerard ’t Hooft

    Nobel Laureate, Theoretical Physicist Gerardus ’t Hooft was born on July 5, 1946, Den Helder, the Netherlands. When he received his doctorate in theoretical physics in 1972 at Utrecht University on "The Renormalization Procedure for Yang-Mills Fields", this work would later earn him, together with his advisor Martinus Veltman, the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics. More »
  • Leonard Susskind

    Theoretical Physicist, Author Leonard Susskind is the Felix Bloch Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stanford University, and one of the discoverers of string theory, a candidate for a theory that unifies all laws of physics. An award-winning author, he is a proponent of the idea that our universe is one of an infinite number. More »
  • Raphael Bousso

    Physicist Raphael Bousso is recognized for discovering the general relation between the curved geometry of space-time and its information content, known as the “covariant entropy bound.” More »
  • Herman Verlinde

    Theoretical & String Physicist Renowned for his influential contributions to string theory and its application in mathematics, particle physics, cosmology, and black hole physics, Herman Verlinde's research has been recognized through several awards and fellowships from the Packard Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the Royal Dutch Academy of Science. More »