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Theorist: “for me gravity doesn’t exist”

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Further to Huffington Post announces: Universe shouldn’t exist, another theorist thinks, maybe gravity doesn’t exist.

From the Daily Galaxy:

In January 2010, Erik Verlinde, professor ofTheoretical Physics and world-renowned string theorist, caused a worldwide stir with the publication of On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton, in which he challenged commonly held perceptions on gravity, going so far as to state ‘for me gravity doesn’t exist’. If he is proved correct, the consequences for our understanding of the universe and its origins in a Big Bang will be far-reaching.

“Everyone who is working on theoretical physics is trying to improve on Einstein,” says Robbert Dijkgraaf, UvA University Professor and current director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (where scientists including Turing, Oppenheimer and Einstein have worked) In my opinion, Erik Verlinde has found an important key for the next step forward.”

Verlinde, who received the Spinoza prize (the Dutch Nobel Prize) from the Netherlands Organisation for Science, is famous for developing this new theory, or idea, on gravity in which he says that gravity is an illusion. “Gravity is not an illusion in the sense that we know that things fall,” says Verline.” Most people, certainly in physics, think we can describe gravity perfectly adequately using Einstein’s General Relativity. But it now seems that we can also start from a microscopic formulation where there is no gravity to begin with, but you can derive it. This is called ‘emergence’.”

“We have other phenomena in Physics like this,” Verlinde continued. “Take a concept like ‘temperature’, for instance. We experience it every day. We can feel temperature. But, if you really think about the microscopic molecules, there’s no notion of temperature there. It’s something that has to do with the property of all molecules together; it’s like the average energy per molecule.

Best guess is, his idea is falling flat in the physics world.

For one thing, most of the article is taken up with the alternative view:

Refuting recent cosmological speculation that gravity “is an illusion” (see below), the most precise measurements to date of the strength of gravitational interactions between distant galaxies show perfect consistency with general relativity’s predictions.

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).

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7 Replies to “Theorist: “for me gravity doesn’t exist”

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Verlinde, who received the Spinoza prize (the Dutch Nobel Prize) from the Netherlands Organisation for Science, is famous for developing this new theory, or idea, on gravity in which he says that gravity is an illusion.

    Did Verlinde consult with Stephen Hawking on this before saying what he said? Did the NOS check on this conflict before deciding to give the award?

    Didn’t Hawking say not long ago that the universe owes its existence to the law of gravity?

    Why do these guys contradict each other so easily?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    June 30, 1905

    Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity – info-graphic

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    Physicists understand very little about the universe. They mostly use math to describe observations. Newton was humble enough to acknowledge that he had no idea why his equations worked. Understanding comes from asking and answering why questions, e.g., why does a body in inertial motion remain in motion? or what causes gravity?

    I agree with Erik Verlinde that gravity is not a fundamental force. In my opinion, it is an emergent force that is created by the way particles interact.

  4. 4
    mahuna says:

    It does advance knowledge a whole lot to argue that Newtonian gravity is somehow technically wrong but there is some other force, named Clyde, and Clyde does all of the things that gravity is supposed to do but does them in a slightly different way that is impossible to measure…

    You can orbit a satellite using only Newtonian Physics. The Einsteinian corrections are trivial. There are probably 100 people on the planet for whom the shortcomings of Einstein are even worth discussing. At some point, this is just another version of stamp collecting.

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    Probably gravity is a minor detail in a bigger thing going on in the universe and it must be. The universe is more involved then being a mere machine . god created it and its complicated.
    so anybody can speculate but one must back it up with evidence.
    Evolution is not backed up with bio sci evidence but is welcomed as they have no other ideas and don’t like the bible.
    in fact Einsteins stuff is more open to attack then darwins.
    there you go on priorities.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Gravity doesn’t exist is a bit of rhetorical flourish there, just as temp does not exist. He means to reduce, maybe heading for good old TOE in some new guise. Mebbe, “is not fundamental” . . . but then, come up with some unexpected connexions and empirical consequences that can be soundly tested and differentiate. He is trying to come up with an alternate explanation for what are called dark matter and dark energy, in part, so who knows. We already know there is a lot we don’t know. KF

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    Known ignorance is an improvement on unknown unknowns!

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