Erik Verlinde | A New View on Gravity and the Cosmos

Recording: Erik Verlinde | A New View on Gravity and the Cosmos

“Where did it all come from?” This eternal question has served as the driving force for human innovation and evolution. Curiosity continues to take progress from science to technology and back again. This new view on gravity, likewise, is motivated by that question.

In this talk, Erik Verlinde will offer a philosophical, an observational, and a theoretical argument for his theory of gravity, known as entropic, or emergent, gravity. Firstly, the particle physics paradigm is encapsulated in the the reductionist idea that, by reducing all physical phenomena to the smallest building blocks, we can obtain greater understanding. However, meaning often comes from the bigger picture. Emergence, defined as the observation of phenomena at a macroscopic scale which are derived from a microscopic scale, where they have no a priori meaning, is the foundation of this new theory.

Secondly, the truth value of theories often depends on their scale. Newtonian gravity works well for planets, but not for black holes. Einsteinian gravity works well for black holes, but not for galaxies, where dark matter and energy must be postulated to account for the speeds of orbiting cosmic objects. Emergent gravity should be able to account for all three. The third, theoretical argument, guides us through what it would be like to fall into a black hole, and uses this example to explain how emergent gravity works.

Erik Verlinde is a theoretical physicist and string theorist at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Amsterdam. He held the position of Senior Staff Member at CERN, before becoming a physics professor at his Alma Mater in 1996. He has held two subsequent Professor of Physics: at Princeton and, currently, at the University of Amsterdam.

Organised by the VvTP as part of their Physics in Space Symposium

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