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Research paper topic: Holographic Universe - 1196 words
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Holographic Universe In autumn of 1992, one of the world's greatest contemporary physicists passed away. David Bohm, whose work inspired many people all over the world, died in London. David Bohm's contributions to science and philosophy are profound, and they have yet to be fully recognized and integrated on the grand scale. David Bohm was born on December 20, 1917, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Bohm was fascinated by the dazzling concepts of cosmic forces and vast expanses of space that lie beyond our understanding.
Bohm began his theory with the troubling concern that the two pillars of modern physics, quantum mechanics and relativity theory, actually contradict each other. This contradiction is not just in minor details but is very fundamental, because quantum mechanics requires reality to be discontinuous, non-causal, and non-local, whereas relativity theory requires reality to be continuous, causal, and local. This discrepancy can be patched up in a few cases using mathematical re-normalization techniques, but this approach introduces an infinite number of arbitrary features into the theory that, Bohm points out, are reminiscent of the epicycles used to patch up the crumbling theory of Ptolmaic astronomy. Hence, contrary to widespread understanding even among scientists, the new physics is self-contradictory at its foundation and is far from being a finished new model of reality. Bohm was further troubled by the fact that many leading physicists did not pay sufficient attention to this discrepancy.
Seeking a resolution of this dilemma, Bohm inquired into what the two contradictory theories of modern physics have in common. What he found was undivided wholeness. Bohm was therefore led to take wholeness very seriously, and, indeed, wholeness became the foundation of his major contributions to physics. According to quantum physics no matter how far apart two quanta's of light (photons) travel, when they are measured they will always be found to have identical angles of polarization. This suggests that somehow the two photons must be instantaneously communicating with each other so they know which angle of polarization to agree upon.
Eventually, technology became available to actually perform the two particle experiment, but no one was able to produce conclusive results. Then in 1982 a remarkable event took place. At the University of Paris a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. There are some who believe his discovery may change the face of science. Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them.
It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart. Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. This meant that either Einstein's long-held theory that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light or the two particles are non-locally connected. Because most physicists are opposed to admitting faster-than-light processes into physics, this daunting prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up with elaborate ways to explain away Aspect's findings. But it has inspired others to offer even more radical explanations.
David Bohm believes the reason subatomic particles are able to remain in contact with one another regardless of the distance separating them is not because they are sending some sort of mysterious signal back and forth, but because their separateness is an illusion. Bohm postulates that the ultimate nature of physical reality is not a collection of separate objects (as it appears to us), but rather it is an undivided whole that is in perpetual dynamic flux. For Bohm, the insights of quantum mechanics and relativity theory point to a universe that is undivided and in which all parts merge and unite in one totality. This undivided whole is not static but rather in a constant state of flow and change, a kind of invisible ether from which all things arise and into which all things eventually dissolve. Indeed, even mind and matter are united.
Bohm refers to his theory as the holomovement. The terms holo and movement refer to two fundamental features of reality. The movement portion refers to the fact that reality is in a constant state of change and flux as mentioned above. The holo portion signifies that reality is structured in a manner that is very similar to holography. Bohm says that the universe is like a hologram.
So, in order to understand what that means, we need to have some idea of the components and structure of a hologram. There are several explanations, but here is something of the idea. To construct a hologram you need two beams of light (lasers). One beam will bounce off the object that you want as a hologram, and the other beam will shine directly onto the special photographic plate or film. The interference patterns of those two light sources will interact on the plate. They swirl around and do not look like anything in particular if you are looking at the plate.
If, however, you shine a laser beam through the plate of film, the object will be reproduced in the 3-dimensional form of a hologram. And further more, if you tear the plate apart and shine the beam of light through any of the pieces, the whole object can be reproduced. So, in essence, each part contains the patterns for the whole picture. One of Bohm's most startling assertions is that the tangible reality of our everyday lives is really a kind of illusion, like a holographic image. Underlying it is a deeper order of existence, a vast and more primary level of reality that gives birth to all the objects and appearances of our physical world in much the same way that a piece of holographic film gives birth to a hologram. Bohm calls this deeper level of reality the implicate (which means enfolded or hidden) order, and he refers to our own level or existence as the explicate, or unfolded order.
Put another way, electrons and all other particles are no more substantive or permanent then the form a geyser of water takes as it gushes out of a fountain. They are sustained by a constant influx from the implicate order, and when a particle appears to be destroyed, it is not lost. It has merely enfolded back into the deeper order from which it sprang. A piece of holographic film and the image it generates are also an example of an implicate and explicate order. The film is an implicate order because the image encoded it its interference patterns is a hidden totality enfolded throughout the whole.
The hologram projected from the film is an explicate order because it represents the unfolded and perceptible version of the image. Bohm is not the only researcher who has found evidence that the universe is a hologram. Working independently in the field of brain research, Stanford neurophysiologist Karl Pribram has also become persuaded by the holographic nature of reality. He says that the human brain can be modeled as a hologram. Pribram was drawn to the holographic model by the puzzle of how and where memories are stored in the brain.
For decades numerous studies have s ...
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