There’s been a heated debate roaming around the internet about whether the earth is flat or round. Now, thanks to a bit of research, we can argue over whether the universe is a hologram. 

For years, scientists have been investigating the possibility that the universe is (or once was) a giant hologram—where the laws of physics require just two dimensions but appear three-dimensional. 

While it sounds a bit ridiculous, if this theory were true, it would solve quite a few questions in physics. 

According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Waterloo, the University of Southhampton (UK), INFN, Leece (Italy), Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the University of Salento (Italy), the hologram principle works similarly to the Big Bang model in explaining the early universe. 

"We are proposing using this holographic universe, which is a very different model of the Big Bang than the popularly accepted one that relies on gravity and inflation," lead author Professor Niayesh Afshordi said. "Each of these models makes distinct predictions that we can test as we refine our data and improve our theoretical understanding – all within the next five years."

The hologram principle broke wind in the '90s and was used to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity. 

"The key to understanding quantum gravity is understanding field theory in one lower dimension," Professor Afshordi added. "Holography is like a Rosetta Stone, translating between known theories of quantum fields without gravity and the uncharted territory of quantum gravity itself."

While this theory is a difficult one to prove, more than 10,000 papers have been published on the idea. 

So, what does this mean exactly? Are we living in a hologram? Professor Afshordi says it’s more complicated than that.

"I would say you don’t live in a hologram, but you could have come out of a hologram," Professor Afshordi told Gizmodo. "[In 2017], there are definitely three dimensions."

A Quick Breakdown

If you’re still a little wigged out, don’t worry. Here’s a quick breakdown. 

A hologram, as you know, is a flat (two-dimensional) surface that appears to have three dimensions when viewed – it gives the illusion of having depth. The holographic principle suggests that the contents of the universe originated as mathematics encoded on a boundary surrounding the cosmos. 

Are you team #FlatEarth or team #Hologram? Let us know in the comments!