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March 29th, 2010
Gravity Emerges from Quantum Information, Say Physicists
A few month's ago, Erik Verlinde at the the University of Amsterdam put forward one such idea which has taken the world of physics by storm. Verlinde suggested that gravity is merely a manifestation of entropy in the Universe. His idea is based on the second law of thermodynamics, that entropy always increases over time. It suggests that differences in entropy between parts of the Universe generates a force that redistributes matter in a way that maximises entropy. This is the force we call gravity.
What's exciting about the approach is that it dramatically simplifies the theoretical scaffolding that supports modern physics. And while it has its limitations--for example, it generates Newton's laws of gravity rather than Einstein's--it has some advantages too, such as the ability to account for the magnitude of dark energy which conventional theories of gravity struggle with.
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