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Are Space, Time, And Gravity All Just Illusions?

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Verlinde’s approach is to start from the entropy and Hawking temperature of a black hole, and then, using ideas from String Theory, to show there’s a relationship between quantum information theory and the emergence of gravity, space, and time.

3:54 PM: Welcome to the Live Blog of Erik Verlinde’s talk! For those of you curious about why emergent gravity is such a radical idea, it presents the possibility of explaining the most mysterious force, gravity, in terms of something that is simple and well-defined: the entropy of tiny black holes.

4:18 PM: He wants you to think about gravity, in Newtonian terms, that gravity, going around the Earth, and “Falling” are actually all the same thing. The analogy is clear: Verlinde wants to modify how we think about gravity rather than add dark matter.

Verlinde’s contention is that just as the silly putty flows, perhaps gravity, or dark matter, is a derived and emergent property of a more fundamental, underlying theory.

Again, no modified gravity theory, including Verlinde’s, can explain all of these large-scale observations.

4:53 PM: Verlinde asks the big question: does quantum entanglement/emergent gravity explain the deviations from Newton’s laws in galactic rotation? It’s the easiest problem for modified gravity, but the answer so far is, “Only at one instant in time.” It doesn’t work the same if we look to greater distances, and greater lookback times.


Article originally posted at

Post Author: Ethan Siegel

1 thought on “Are Space, Time, And Gravity All Just Illusions?

    Joseph Guillory

    (January 24, 2018 - 12:09 am)

    Light is not an illusion.

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