General · Language · Problem

What the heck is the holographic principle?

Time to jot down some notes about the Holographic Principle [1]. Something which I’ve been encountering in articles over the years. Typically in reading about string theory and quantum gravity. And black holes.

But lately, in particular, in recasting (so-called) fundamantal particles as higher dimensional localizations in space-time. So that each represents just the “surface” of a higher dimensional “volume.”[2]

Wiki’s article is a place to start. Lots of esoteric terminolgy, however.

The holographic principle is a tenet of string theories and a supposed property of quantum gravity that states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a lower-dimensional boundary to the region … [as] inspired by black hole thermodynamics … that the informational content of all the objects that have fallen into the hole might be entirely contained in surface fluctuations of the event horizon.

Actually, this post was inspired by a NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day.

• NASA > APOD > “The Holographic Principle and a Teapot” (October 3, 2021)

(Image caption) Explanation: Sure, you can see the 2D rectangle of colors, but can you see deeper? Counting color patches in the featured image, you might estimate that the most information that this 2D digital image can hold is about 60 (horizontal) x 50 (vertical) x 256 (possible colors) = 768,000 bits.

However, the yet-unproven Holographic Principle states that, counter-intuitively, the information in a 2D panel can include all of the information in a 3D room that can be enclosed by the panel.

The principle derives from the idea that the Planck length, the length scale where quantum mechanics begins to dominate classical gravity, is one side of an area that can hold only about one bit of information.

The limit was first postulated by physicist Gerard ‘t Hooft in 1993.

It can arise from generalizations from seemingly distant speculation that the information held by a black hole is determined not by its enclosed volume but by the surface area of its event horizon.

The term “holographic” arises from a hologram analogy where three-dimension images are created by projecting light through a flat screen.

Beware, some people staring at the featured image … might claim it encodes a three-dimensional teapot. [Huh?]

Perhaps there’re some helpful visualizations for mere mortals? To be determined.


[1] Which I started in October 2021. And a recent article reminded me of the topic once again.

[2] As Sabine Hossenfelder notes in her book Lost in Math:

Or Leonard Susskind, who claimed in a 2015 interview that “almost all working high-energy theoretical physicists are convinced some sort of extra dimensions are needed to explain the complexity of elementary particles.” – Hossenfelder, Sabine. Lost in Math (p. 157). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

Imagine – in the Grid – twisty defects. Their “surface” properties, for example, may be mass, spin, and / or charge. But the “volume” of these localizations is a (gradient) pattern of kinked energy.

As an analogy (for lack of a better one), I often get kinks in my garden hoses, which are not fully relaxed even after years of use. Due to unresolved circular stress in coils of the hose (or between segments of the hose), as the hose is extended across my yard.

Perhaps these kinks act like topological solitons or “torons” as in old-fashioned coiled telephone handset cords. Points where a seamless transition is impossible. And energetic interaction is required to remove a kink by untwisting the hose (which may just pass the stress down the line). A kink does not naturally relax (decay) or become undone or de-tangled.

A kink can partially or completely block the flow of water.

A loose enough knot can loop-spin the flow of water. And present the issue of how to untie.

So, perhaps, in a sense, “particles” are defects where Grid energy flow is “frustrated.” Centers where space-time and the quantum vacuum are not relaxed.[3][4]

[3] Cf. Spin glasses which “are ‘stuck’ in stable configurations other than the lowest-energy configuration.”

[4] As in fluid dynamics, superfluid-like quantized vortices in space-time energy – tangles.


Superfluid vacuum theory (SVT) is an approach in theoretical physics and quantum mechanics where the physical vacuum is viewed as superfluid.

The ultimate goal of the approach is to develop scientific models that unify quantum mechanics (describing three of the four known fundamental interactions) with gravity. This makes SVT a candidate for the theory of quantum gravity and an extension of the Standard Model.

It is hoped that development of such theory would unify into a single consistent model of all fundamental interactions, and to describe all known interactions and elementary particles as different manifestations of the same entity, superfluid vacuum.

1: to unite or knit together in intricate confusion [“spin”]
2: to involve so as to hamper, obstruct, or embarrass [“mass”]
3: to seize and hold in or as if in a snare : Entrap [“charge’]

1a: to wrap or twist together : Interweave [superimpose]
b: Ensnare [confine]

1a: the action of entangling : the state of being entangled
1b: something that entangles, confuses, or ensnares

: to free from entanglement : Unravel

: to remove tangles from



Holography is a technique that enables a wavefront to be recorded and later re-constructed. Holography is best known as a method of generating three-dimensional images, but it also has a wide range of other applications. In principle, it is possible to make a hologram for any type of wave.

Related posts

A particle by any other name? – in particular, where the equivalence of energy, matter, and information is discussed by the it-from-qubit camp.

(quote) … whenever a system of qubits holographically encodes a region of space-time, there are always qubit entanglement patterns that correspond to localized bits of energy floating in the higher-dimensional world.

A force-less physics?

My June 3, 2020, comment, Note #2 re torons.

My June 15, 2020, comment, Note #1 re notion of “particles” as defects (or topological defects).