There is a strange and mysterious world around us, a world largely hidden from our senses. The quest to explain the true nature of reality is a scientific story worthy of a detective. The 2011 film by BBC Horizon titled What is Reality raises many questions and offers answers that are presently available which in turn raises even more questions. What is reality – can such question be answered by our knowledge so far?
The BBC Horizon program begins with Jacobo Konigsberg talking about the discovery of top quark at Fermilab. Frank Wilceck follows with a theory to explain the physics of particles in the hut of countries using a pieces of fruit. Anton Zeilinger shows us the double-slit experiment and then Seth Lloyd demonstrates us the world’s most powerful quantum computer, which despite being the most powerful, still has several holdbacks. Lloyd has some interesting ideas suggesting the universe could be much like a quantum computer.
Lenny Susskind then makes an appearance to tell us about the holographic principle which he discovered after encountering an interesting hologram in the corridor. The principle was holgraphicaly illustrated by projecting an image of Lenny into itself. Max Tegmark then draws some of his favorite equations in a window and tell us that reality is mathematics before dissolution in equations.
The most interesting part of the program was an article about an experiment to build a holometer at Fermilab described by its project leader – Craig Hogan. The laser inteferometer holometer is inspired by the noise in gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO. It is hoped that if the holographic principle is correct this experiment will detect its effects.
The tracks were reconstructed from the depths of the atom, from the event horizon of a black hole, and from the confines of the cosmos. It may be that we are part of a cosmic hologram, projected from the edge of the universe. Or that there are an infinity of parallel worlds. After watching the BBC Horizon program What Is Reality, the reality will never look the same to you again. Full lenght BBC feature can be watched in a YouTube video below: