World is a giant hologram, new study reveals. Seriously?

It sounds like a surprise ending in a science fiction movie: The universe is one big hologram and what we think of as reality could be just an illusion.

But that's the finding of a new study by a team of international researchers from the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy, among others.

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The theory is similar to the science behind watching a 3-D movie. The images have width, height, and depth, yet the film actually originates from a 2-D screen, scientists said.

"Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions (and your perception of time) in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field, study co-author Kostas Skenderis of the University of Southhampton said.

“The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded," Skenderis said.

The theory has been around since the 1990s, but with the advancement in technology, including telescopes and sensory equipment, scientists have been able to detect a large amount of hidden data in the aftermath of the Big Bang, or creation of the universe, in the “white noise” or microwaves left over from the event.

“Holography is a huge leap forward in the way we think about the structure and creation of the universe,” Skenderis explained.

The research could also help bridge the gap between Albert Einstein’s relativity theory and quantum field theory.

“Scientists have been working for decades to combine Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum theory. Some believe the concept of a holographic universe has the potential to reconcile the two,” Skenrderis added.

The study was the published in the journal Physical Review Letters on Monday.

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