I have about 50 million questions regarding physics, but I'm not going to burden you with all my tedious questions. Instead, I was wondering if there are books that you know of or websites you could send me to about basic to intermediate physics. I never took physics at all in high-school, a decision I now greatly regret, because I've recently taken an interest in physics, but have basically no knowledge about physics whatsoever.
If you want to actually learn physics, no place beats Khan Academy. If you know calculus or you’re a very determined person, check out MIT OpenCourseWare (and if you want to learn calculus, check that out too). If you just want to chill out and watch some neat physics lectures where you can pick up some info, check out your local university (everyone has one) and see if they have a physics department. Usually they give free public lectures quite often. Just sit in there, even if you understand nothing (I sat in on a class last year where professors came in and presented their research to grad students. Most of it went over my head, but I absorbed some of it). The Feynman Lectures are just beautiful. Reddit has a great physics community that is pretty knowledgeable and kind to newbies. If you can get your hands on a physics textbook, you’re as good as gold.
Just read. Read, read read. Start somewhere, anywhere, and just go from there. Good luck.
In a larger and more speculative sense, the theory suggests that the entire universe can be seen as a two-dimensional information structure “painted” on the cosmological horizon, such that the three dimensions we observe are only an effective description at macroscopic scales and at low energies. Cosmological holography has not been made mathematically precise, partly because the cosmological horizon has a finite area and grows with time.
Take a look at the back of a credit card. You can see the metallic two-dimensional sticker on the back, right? When you tilt it back and forth, the image on the sticker appears to be three-dimensional as light reflects off of it in the changing light. The holographic prinicple of the universe says that this is how the universe behaves: the entire universe is two-dimensional and we only perceive it to be three dimensional because of a quirk of light, but also that we’re incapable of recognizing the holography of the universe as a result of the precision of the hologram (much like a really convincing 3D movie that you’ve been watching your whole life).
The idea that spacetime may not be entirely smooth – like a digital image that becomes increasingly pixelated as you zoom in – had been previously proposed by Stephen Hawking and others. Possible evidence for this model appeared last year in the unaccountable “noise” plaguing the GEO600 experiment in Germany, which searches for gravitational waves from black holes. To Hogan, the jitteriness suggested that the experiment had stumbled upon the lower limit of the spacetime pixels’ resolution.
The universe is probably not smooth. This has been theorized since the days of Max Planck around the turn of the last century and today the supposed graininess of the universe is relatively well-accepted, as far as new and crazy/mind-blowing/debilitating theories go.
Proponents of this theory have long been resigned to the ranks of stoner philosophy majors going on about how the universe is totally flat, man, totally. In the background, though, theorists have been refining the theory and now it’s time for them to shine.
“So we want to build a machine which will be the most sensitive measurement ever made of spacetime itself,” says Hogan. “That’s the holometer.”
The holometer’s precision means that it doesn’t have to be large; at 40 meters in length, it is only one hundredth of the size of current interferometers, which measure gravitational waves from black holes and supernovas. Yet because the spacetime frequencies it measures are so rapid, it will be more precise over very short time intervals by seven orders of magnitude than any atomic clock in existence.
The results from this experiment will likely be a hot topic of debate for a long time, but if a definitive answer is shown then it could revolutionize not only the field of quantum mechanics, but physics as a whole.