|Can you please explain holographic and anthropic
principles with easy examples?
|Question Date: 2014-06-02|
The holographic principle is an idea that all of
the information about three dimensional volume can
extracted by measuring the two dimensional
boundary of the region. This is a very deep (and
speculative) concept in physics that is motivated
by black hole thermodynamics, general relativity,
and string theory. There are concrete examples of
the holographic principle in string theory,
unfortunately none of them are simple. But if you
want to learn more you might start reading a
little here (Holographic principle AdS/CFT).
The anthropic principle is a philosophical concept
that might one day turn out to be useful for
science. Many people often wonder, if the
universe were created by chance what is the
probability that intelligent life would emerge?
This is a very difficult question to answer since
it involves defining 'intelligent', 'life', and a
'random' universe. Still some people speculate
that intelligent life is very unlikely, and that
our existence is a huge coincidence.
The anthropic principle states that even if the
odds are very small for intelligent life to exist,
we still can't properly call our existence a
coincidence, since we can only ask the question
"does life exist?" if we already exist. It's like
asking the question "What are the chances that I
was born?" If you think about it carefully, the
correct answer is 100%.
I cannot explain the holographic principle; it
appears to be something that is consistent with
the theory of thermodynamics, and is used to
explain why we see the universe in three
dimensions when, according to equations, black
holes behave thermodynamically as though there
were only two dimensions. I should warn you that
string theory (which the holographic principle is
part of) is an untested and untestable area of
physics and as a result most physicists are highly
skeptical of it, even going so far as to call it
unscientific for being untestable.
The anthropic principle is a principle that the
area of the universe that we see is the way we see
it because otherwise we couldn't be here to
observe it. For example, we know now of many many
different solar systems with planets, but very few
of them, except our own, are suitable to have a
habitable planet like Earth. This means that
planets with oceans of liquid water may in fact be
very rare in the universe. We happen to live on
one because there is nowhere else that we could
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