Wired: ‘Holographic Duality’ Hints at Hidden Subatomic World

The holographic duality, discovered in 1997 by Juan Maldacena, says that events inside a region of space that involve gravity and are described by string theory are mathematically equivalent to events on the surface of that region that involve particles and are gravity-free. Illustration: Annenberg Lerner 2013

In the mathematical parlance of the holographic duality, certain strongly correlated matter in 2-D [such as in cuprate hi temp superconductors shown above; editors note] corresponds, in 3-D, to a black hole — an infinitely dense object with an inescapable gravitational pull, which is mathematically simple. “These very complicated quantum mechanical collective effects are beautifully captured by black hole physics,” said Hong Liu, an associate professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “For strongly correlated systems, if you put an electron into the system, it will immediately ‘disappear’ — you can no longer track it.” It’s like an object falling into a black hole.