Last time I commented on a BBC Horizon program it was quite popular so perhaps people will be interested in the latest one entitled “What is Reality?” which aired in the UK this week.
I thought the title did not sound promising but it turned out to be a whistle stop tour through a number of interesting current ideas in theoretical and experimental physics. It started with Jacobo Konisberg talking about the discovery of the Top quark at Fermilab. Frank Wilceck then featured to explain some particle physics theory at his country shack using bits of fruit. Anton Zeilinger showed us the double slit experiment and then Seth Lloyd showed us the worlds most powerful quantum computer, which is not very powerful. Lloyd has some interesting ideas about the universe being like a quantum computer which I encorporated into my FQXi essay, but somehow I dosed off at that point in the program so I will need to watch it again 🙂
Lenny Susskind then made an appearance to tell us about how he had discovered the holographic principle after passing an interesting hologram in the corridor. The holgraphic principle was illustated by projecting an image of Lenny onto himself. Max Tegmark then drew some of his favourite equations onto a window and told us that reality is maths before he himself dissolved into equations.
The most interesting part of the program was a feature about an experiment to construct a holometer at Fermilab described by one of the project leaders Craig Hogan. The holometer is a laser inteferometer inspired by the noise produced at the gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO. It is hoped that if the holographic principle is correct this experiment will detect its effects. Some sceptisicm might be fair dues, but it has to be worth trying. There is info about the holometer here.
I can find the program on Youtube but I wont link because I don’t know if it is an official version that will stay, or whether it is available everywhere or just limited to the UK.