What Is Information?

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What is information? While it is a good question, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gerard ’t Hooft thinks it misses a fundamental point. Instead of asking about the physical world as we currently understand it, one should ask how it came to be that way in the first place and how it evolves with time. To solve this problem, ’t Hooft suspects scientists will have to look beyond quantum physics—to a “pre-quantum theory”—and into a level of reality in which information in a three-dimensional world is lost beneath a two-dimensional veneer.

More videos from this series: A Thin Sheet of Reality

This program is part of The Big Idea Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.


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Date: Friday June 3, 2011
Time: 08:00 PM-09:30 PM
Venue: NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
Moderator: John Hockenberry
Participants: Gerard ’t Hooft, Leonard Susskind, Raphael Bousso, Herman Verlinde

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? Some of the world’s leading physicists think that this may be the case. They believe that our reality is a projection—sort of like a hologram—of laws and processes that exist on a thin surface surrounding us at the edge of the universe. Although the notion seems outlandish, it’s a long-standing theory that initially emerged years ago...[Read more]