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Black Holes and Holography

Dr Marika Taylor, theoretical physicist at Amsterdam University, about thinking in different dimensions.


The aim of theoretical physics is to explain all the forces of nature by a single, all-encompassing theory. In the 1980s, physicists succeeded in developing such a theory: string theory. String theory assumes that the fundamental building blocks of our universe are vibrating strings. In order to explain the existence of these strings, string theorists propose that there are ten or eleven space/time dimensions. Physicists at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Amsterdam University, are conducting fundamental research into string theory.


A new branch of science has developed within theoretical physics in the past decades: holography. Theoretical physicist Marika Taylor is investigating this new theory. It turns out that black holes can best be described as having only two dimensions and no gravity. This is known as the holographic principle. A three-dimensional image is made up of a two-dimensional image, precisely as in the case of a hologram.

In string theory, researchers assume the existence of additional small dimensions that we cannot see. Holography goes even further: it proposes that one of the three dimensions that we think we see is in fact an illusion. Marika Taylor is investigating the theory of holography and its consequences for physics.

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