Update: The original story misleadingly stated that Professor Stephen Hawking had suggested that humans were living in ‘The Matrix’. This is a exaggerated and misleading interpretation from what Hawking actually wrote about. We have therefore decided to update the headline and retract large portions of the original story.
The Telegraph reports that Prof Hertog, from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KT Leuven), said:
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“It’s a very precise mathematical notion of holography that has come out of string theory in the last few years which is not fully understood but is mind-boggling and changes the scene completely.”
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Applied to inflation, the newly published theory suggests that time and “the beginning” of the universe arose holographically from an unknowable state outside the Big Bang.
Prof Hawking said before his death:
“We are not down to a single, unique universe, but our findings imply a significant reduction of the multiverse, to a much smaller range of possible universes.”
And believe it or not, there’s actually evidence that the world works this way.
Hawking’s final paper can be read in full here…
As PBS concludes, some physicists point out that the Hawking-Hertog theory is preliminary and should be considered speculation until other mathematicians can replicate its equations.
Sabine Hossenfelder, a theoretical physicist with the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, said on her blog that the ideas put forward in this paper join others that are currently pure speculation and don’t yet have any evidence to support them. She makes it clear that while the proposals aren’t uninteresting, Hawking and Hertog haven’t found a new way to detect the existence of universes other than our own.
“Stephen Hawking was beloved by everyone I know, both inside and outside the scientific community,” she wrote.
“He was a great man without doubt, but this paper is utterly unremarkable.”