DARK MATTER DISPUTE CONTINUES: VERLINDE’S LATEST PROPOSAL
Mr. T.M. found this article, and I have to talk about it. Dutch theoretical physicist, Erik Verlinde, of the University of Amsterdam, a vocal critic of the dark matter hypothesis, is at it again, with a new proposal to explain the phenomenon usually attributed by most physicists to dark matter. There's something that caught my eye in this article and I suspect its breathtaking nature will catch yours as well:
The passage in question is pregnant with so many massive implications that an attempt to catalogue them all here would be futile, so I'll focus only on the most bizarre and "out there" of the bunch. Here's the passage:
The latest attempt to explain away dark matter is a much-discussed proposal by Erik Verlinde, a theoretical physicist at the University of Amsterdam who is known for bold and prescient, if sometimes imperfect, ideas. In a dense 51-page paper posted online on Nov. 7, Verlinde casts gravity as a byproduct of quantum interactions and suggests that the extra gravity attributed to dark matter is an effect of “dark energy”—the background energy woven into the space-time fabric of the universe.
Instead of hordes of invisible particles, “dark matter is an interplay between ordinary matter and dark energy,” Verlinde said.
To make his case, Verlinde has adopted a radical perspective on the origin of gravity that is currently in vogue among leading theoretical physicists. Einstein defined gravity as the effect of curves in space-time created by the presence of matter. According to the new approach, gravity is an emergent phenomenon. Space-time and the matter within it are treated as a hologram that arises from an underlying network of quantum bits (called “qubits”), much as the three-dimensional environment of a computer game is encoded in classical bits on a silicon chip. Working within this framework, Verlinde traces dark energy to a property of these underlying qubits that supposedly encode the universe. On large scales in the hologram, he argues, dark energy interacts with matter in just the right way to create the illusion of dark matter. (Emphasis added)
What intrigued me here was that Verlinde's approach seems to be at once a combination of zero-point energy with information theory, and that as a result, what might be causing gravity is certain configurations of information.
Once one gets to that notion, the implications of recent ideas from other spheres of investigation - think for example of California materials science professor Dr. William Tiller and his experiments on consciousness and imprinting fields of information through agreed specified intention on material objects under strictly controlled local conditions - acquire a kind of cosmological significance and implication. What this also suggests is that gravity, if a quantum phenomenon at all, might be fundamentally connected to the mysterious phenomena of entanglement and non-locality. I was rather gratified to discover that my "South Dakota hack's guess" here seemed to be confirmed in some degree by the abstract of his paper, which is found here:
It's the opening sentence of this abstract (unfortunately I cannot access the paper and probably wouldn't understand it if I could), that at least raises this possibility:
Recent theoretical progress indicates that spacetime and gravity emerge together from the entanglement structure of an underlying microscopic theory.
The theory, notes the article, has yet to be confirmed, but if this "information-based" approach should be verified and confirmed, then one implication rears its head immediately, and that is that entanglement and information, if the clues to gravity, might also be the clues to antigravity.
But this is all, obviously, very high octane conjecture and speculation, for as the article makes abundantly clear, the vast majority of physicists are still in favor of the dark matter hypothesis.
See you on the flip side...
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