Is Space-Time an Elaborate Illusion?

The Holographic Principle is one of several clues suggesting that the concept of "space" is an elaborate illusion—it seems to have plenty of room to hold stuff, yet it doesn't, writes George Musser. 

What's the Latest Development?


As a child, George Musser was consistently impressed with his father's ability to pack seemingly endless amounts of vacation supplies into the family's suitcases. While becoming a science writer, he learned there is a limit, a rather strict one set by physical laws. If matter becomes too dense, it collapses into a black hole. Through study of these peculiar phenomena and through a more recent advance in string theory, many scientists are beginning to wonder if our concept of space is but an elaborate illusion propagated by what we see as laws of physics, but which are in fact the surface-level result of a much more complex reality. 

What's the Big Idea?

The World Science Festival to be held this summer at New York University will tackle many of the contemporary questions facing researchers. Among them, the idea that the universe as we know it—vast amounts of space sprinkled with matter—is a hologram, a by product of what the universe actually is, currently something beyond both our detection and comprehension. The festival asks: "What we touch. What we smell. What we feel. They’re all part of our reality. But what if life as we know it reflects only one side of the full story?"

Yug, age 7, and Alia, age 10, both entered Let Grow's "Independence Challenge" essay contest.

Photos: Courtesy of Let Grow
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  • The coronavirus pandemic may have a silver lining: It shows how insanely resourceful kids really are.
  • Let Grow, a non-profit promoting independence as a critical part of childhood, ran an "Independence Challenge" essay contest for kids. Here are a few of the amazing essays that came in.
  • Download Let Grow's free Independence Kit with ideas for kids.
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Four philosophers who realized they were completely wrong about things

Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?

Sartre and Wittgenstein realize they were mistaken. (Getty Images)
Culture & Religion

Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways. 

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Withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants can last over a year, new study finds

We must rethink the "chemical imbalance" theory of mental health.

Bottles of antidepressant pills named (L-R) Wellbutrin, Paxil, Fluoxetine and Lexapro are shown March 23, 2004 photographed in Miami, Florida.

Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new review found that withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants and antipsychotics can last for over a year.
  • Side effects from SSRIs, SNRIs, and antipsychotics last longer than benzodiazepines like Valium or Prozac.
  • The global antidepressant market is expected to reach $28.6 billion this year.
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Is there a limit to optimism when it comes to climate change?

Or is doubt a self-fulfilling prophecy?

David McNew/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs

'We're doomed': a common refrain in casual conversation about climate change.

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