By George Musser | May 17, 2011
Intially published May 12 on the World Science Festival's Web site.
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...
"My dad took a peculiar pleasure in fitting the maximum amount of stuff into the smallest possible space. Whenever we went on a family trip, he packed our suitcases like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle, ensuring there wasn’t a single wasted inch—a laudable skill as far as I was concerned, since I could take all the toys I wanted and he’d find room for them. (The bags weighed a ton, but those were the days of free baggage check.) Later, when I drove off to my first apartment, he managed to get a household’s worth of stuff into a two-door car. He always denied there’s any limit on how much stuff you can pack into a certain volume. It was just a question of ingenuity.
Alas, the theoretical physicists speaking at A Thin Sheet of Reality: The Universe as a Hologram at this year’s World Science Festival have bad news: there is a limit. If you exceed it, the gravitational force exerted by the contents of your suitcase will become so intense that the suitcase collapses into a black hole, and you’ll never see your stuff again. Admittedly, this ultimate limit is pretty forgiving. An airplane roll-on could hold a Jupiter’s worth of highly compressed material before you ran into trouble with black holes. (The TSA is another matter.)"
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Image Agnes Denes - Isomemtric Systems in Isotropic Space - Map Projections