A Scientist Takes On Gravity

It’s hard to imagine a more fundamental and ubiquitous aspect of life on the Earth than gravity, from the moment you first took a step and fell on your diapered bottom to the slow terminal sagging of flesh and dreams.

But what if it’s all an illusion, a sort of cosmic frill, or a side effect of something else going on at deeper levels of reality?

So says Erik Verlinde, 48, a respected string theorist and professor of physics at the University of Amsterdam, whose contention that gravity is indeed an illusion has caused a continuing ruckus among physicists, or at least among those who profess to understand it. Reversing the logic of 300 years of science, he argued in a recent paper, titled “On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton,” that gravity is a consequence of the venerable laws of thermodynamics, which describe the behavior of heat and gases.

Read the rest on the NYT website.

Tags: Einstein, Newton, Stephen Hawkings, Verlinde, black holes, cosmos, gravity, physics, space, space-time, More…string theory, theory of relativity, thermodynamics, time

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Replies to This Discussion

"Some of the best physicists in the world say they don’t understand Dr. Verlinde’s paper,"

I'm not a physicist and I haven't read his paper, but I must say I don't understand his theory so far :D
I think I understand the analogies okay, but that is about it. Just interesting stuff. : )
I think any day the universe has a bad-hair day is an interesting day.
I shall be watching your comments on this idea.
"Some of the best physicists in the world say they don’t understand Dr. Verlinde’s paper"
Well it's good to know I'm in such good company.
What an intriguing idea! “We’ve known for a long time gravity doesn’t exist,” Dr. Verlinde said, “It’s time to yell it.” I don't know what will come but I am surely eager to find more information about if.
I will not even try to understand it, but will appreciate the value of questioning what we 'know' in a well thought-out way and possibly provable way. If we hadn't we would still think everything revolved around the earth.
Erik Verlinde, 48, a respected string theorist

Naww, c'mon, that's a bit harsh :P
But funny. ;-)

And just a grain of truth. ;-)


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