Is Space Digital? [Preview]
An experiment going up outside of Chicago will attempt to measure the intimate connections among information, matter and spacetime. If it works, it could rewrite the rules for 21st-century physics
January 17, 2012 | 30|
Image: Illustration by Vault49
- Space may not be smooth and continuous. Instead it may be digital, composed of tiny bits. Physicists have assumed that these bits are far too small to measure with current technology.
- Yet one scientist thinks that he has devised a way to detect the bitlike structure of space. His machine—currently under construction—will attempt to measure its grainy nature.
- The experiment is one of the first to investigate the principle that the universe emerges from information—specifically, information that is imprinted on two-dimensional sheets.
- If successful, the experiment will shift the foundations of what we know about space and time, providing a glimpse of a new physics that could supplant our current understanding.