The Universe: A massive 3D Video Game?

In this handout from NASA/ESA, an artist's concept illustrates a quasar, or feeding black hole. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) revealed millions of potential black holes in its survey of the sky in 2011.

Scientists have developed a test, to check if the universe is really some massive, computer-style simulation like “The Matrix.” To get a handle on the strategy, think 3D video games. Designers build into games the laws of physics. When, for instance, a character drops a grenade, there's simulated gravity so the grenade falls to the ground. In games and other simulations, the rules of the universe are simplified, as if sketched with a thick magic marker that can't render fine detail. If physicists were ever able to spot a similar chunkiness in properties of the universe, then it could be it's all a giant computer simulation.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio
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