Physicist Proposes New Theory of Gravity—Gravity Does Not Exist
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Many people have heard the story of when Newton sat under an apple tree to think, and suddenly an apple fell on his head and he conceived the theory of gravity. But after a long time, physicists knew gravity was a very strange physical law. Compared to other basic interaction forces, gravity was very difficult to deal with. Now the reasons for this peculiarity may have been explained: gravity is not a fundamental interaction force, but instead may be the derivative of another more fundamental power.
Professor Eric Verlinde, 48, a respected string theorist and a professor of physics at the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Amsterdam, proposed a new theory of gravity as reported by the New York Times on July 12, 2010. He argued in a paper, titled “On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton” that gravity is a consequence of the laws of thermodynamics.
“For me, gravity doesn’t exist,” Dr. Verlinde told the Times. Of course, the apple will fall to the ground, but the physical laws governing that action may not be the way science has viewed it for the past 300 years.
The core of the theory may be relevant to the lack of order in physical systems. The Times describes his argument as the “bad hair day” theory of gravity. Hair frizzles in the heat because there are more ways for it to curl than to remain straight. Dr. Verlinde postulates that the force we call gravity works in a similar way.
Professor Verlinde’s theory is that gravity is essentially an entropic force. An object moving around other small objects will change the disorder surrounding the objects and gravity will be felt. Based on this idea in the Holographic theory, he can derive Newton’s second law of mechanics. In addition, his theory on the physics of inertial mass is also a new understanding.
Research on the universe in modern science is essentially based on the theory of gravity. If gravity does not exist, then our understanding of the galaxy and the universe’s structure could be wrong. This may be why astronomers often find it difficult to explain gravitational movement’s of distant celestial bodies and have to introduce the concept of “dark matter” to help balance the equations.
While some physicists say Verlinde’s theory is wrong, others are intrigued. Even some who don’t necessarily agree with Verlinde say a new theory of gravity could help resolve some cosmic puzzles that have emerged—like so-called dark energy, a force that seems to be pushing the expansion of the universe. New theories of gravity may stimulate scientists to seek a new understanding of the universe.
“We’ve known for a long time gravity doesn’t exist,” Dr. Verlinde told the Times, “It’s time to yell it.”
This article has been revised from a previous version.