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How Our Universe Could Emerge as a Hologram

Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog.

Physicists have devised a holographic model of “de Sitter space,” the term for a universe like ours, that could give us new clues about the origin of space and time.Drawing by Xi Dong

The fabric of space and time is widely believed by physicists to be emergent, stitched out of quantum threads according to an unknown pattern. And for 22 years, they’ve had a toy model of how emergent space-time can work: a theoretical “universe in a bottle,” as its discoverer, Juan Maldacena, has described it.

The space-time filling the region inside the bottle—a continuum that bends and undulates, producing the force called gravity—exactly

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