Saturn's Hexagon --"One of the Most Bizarre Things Seen in the Solar System"
Image of the Day: Spectacular Jets of a Supermassive Black Hole Dwarf their Galaxy

"Gravity Doesn't Exist" --Is this Fundamental Phenomenon of the Universe an Illusion?




Could both gravity and the Big Bang be an illusion? In January 2010, Erik Verlinde, professor of Theoretical Physics and world-renowned string theorist, caused a worldwide stir with the publication of On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton, in which he challenged commonly held perceptions on gravity, going so far as to state ‘for me gravity doesn’t exist’. If he is proved correct, the consequences for our understanding of the universe and its origins in a Big Bang will be far-reaching.

"Everyone who is working on theoretical physics is trying to improve on Einstein," says Robbert Dijkgraaf, UvA University Professor and current director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (where scientists including Turing, Oppenheimer and Einstein have worked) In my opinion, Erik Verlinde has found an important key for the next step forward."

Verlinde, who received the Spinoza prize (the Dutch Nobel Prize) from the Netherlands Organisation for Science, is famous for developing this new theory, or idea, on gravity in which he says that gravity is an illusion. "Gravity is not an illusion in the sense that we know that things fall," says Verline." Most people, certainly in physics, think we can describe gravity perfectly adequately using Einstein’s General Relativity. But it now seems that we can also start from a microscopic formulation where there is no gravity to begin with, but you can derive it. This is called ‘emergence’."

"We have other phenomena in Physics like this," Verlinde continued. "Take a concept like ‘temperature’, for instance. We experience it every day. We can feel temperature. But, if you really think about the microscopic molecules, there’s no notion of temperature there. It’s something that has to do with the property of all molecules together; it’s like the average energy per molecule."

To Verlinde, gravity is similar. It’s something that only appears when you put many things together at a microscopic scale and then you suddenly see that certain equations arise. "As scientists," he observes, "we first want to understand nature and our universe. In doing so, we have observed things that are deeply puzzling, such as phenomena related to dark matter. We see things happening that we don’t understand. There must be more matter out there that we don’t see. There’s also something called ‘dark energy’. And then there’s the whole puzzle of the beginning of the universe. We now have what is called the ‘Big Bang’ theory.

Verline belives his ideas will shed new light on the concept of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ and why they’re important in relation to gravity.

"We think we understand gravity in most situations," he says "but when we look at galaxies and, on much larger scales, at galaxy clusters, we see things happening that we don’t understand using our familiar equations, like Newton’s equation of gravity or even Einstein’s gravity. So we have to assume there’s this mysterious form of matter, which we call dark matter, which we cannot see. Now dark energy is even weirder, in the sense that we don’t even know what it consists of. It’s something we can put in our equations to make things work, but there’s really a big puzzle to be solved in terms of why it’s there and what it’s made of. At present, we have not really found the right equations to describe it. There’s clearly progress to be made in terms of finding a better theory of gravity, and understanding what’s happening in our universe."

For example, the Big Bang theory is the idea that at a particular moment things suddenly started exploding and growing, and that our universe got bigger, which Verlinde finds illogical to think it came from this one moment.

"It’s illogical to think there was nothing and then it exploded. We use concepts like time and space," he adds, "but we don’t really understand what this means microscopically. That might change. The Big Bang has to do with our understanding of what time should be, and I think we will have a much better understanding of this in the future. I think we will figure out that what we thought was the Big Bang was actually a different kind of event. Or maybe that we should not think that the universe really began at a particular moment and that there’s another way to describe that."

Verlinde believes that the information we have today and the equations we now use only describe a very small part of what is actually going on. "If you think that something grows, like our universe, than something else must become smaller," he observes."I think there’s something we haven’t found yet and this will help us discover the origins of our universe. In short, the universe originated from something, not from nothing. There was something there and we have to find the equations. It has something to do with dark energy and how that is related to dark matter. If we understand the equations for those components of our universe, I think we’ll also have a better understanding of how the universe began. I think it’s all about the interplay between these different forms of energy and matter.

The Big Bang theory works well in the sense that it gives us some understanding of how particular elements in our universe came about and there are other things that we can observe, like the radiation that came from the Big Bang. But the whole idea of an expanding universe that started with a big explosion will change. "You need to think about the equations in a bigger setting," Verlinde observes. "You need to describe more than just the matter particles. You need to know more about what space/time is. All these things have to come together in order to be able to explain the Big Bang."  

Quantum mechanics took approximately 26 years to develop, Verlinde concludes. "We’ve had string theory for 40 years and nothing yet has come out of that which can be directly tested with observations or experiments. I think my idea has a greater chance of being tested with observations, which is an exciting thing. I think it will take no more than 10 or 15 years."

The end result be belives will lead to a paradigm shift in how people think that the universe was created.

The Daily Galaxy via University of Amsterdam and Erik Verlinde  


Nothing really exists until we think of it! And thinking of it makes it so!

A very interesting article, i have never believed that the universe began from nothing. The theory of a all inclusive state of existence where everything all matter and energy from all universes or dimensions, once existed as one thing and then split apart into infinite universes makes more sense to me. With each universe having its own unique properties and rules. Black holes i think hold the key to understanding the birth of the universe. They are one of the only observable phenomena in the universe that we can see have incredible influence. On both galactic formation and just matter and energy recycling. Just as i cannot believe this universe was born of nothing, i cannot therefor believe that black holes simply destroy the energy and matter they consume. Something must be happening on the other side wherever or whatever that is.

Allan - way to rip off DesCartes to sound smart. I never really got how one could think that way. I mean, i understand generally the role of the observer in nature but it seems a bit ridiculous to think this way. Thats like saying some cave dwelling spider species is discovered but it is just so since we have seen it. no, that spider has undergone millions of years of natural selection to live in its environment, it has always existed.

I saw a large triangle UFO instantly jump a couple 1000 feet up, from just above the trees (a few blocks away.) It hovered for a couple seconds then looked like it was shrinking in size as tho it was going up directly away from me (mind blown.) There was no sound. I did get a picture as it vanished into the sky.

Whatever it was, it overcame inertia and gravity as tho it wasnt even there. What is in that picture is real. I'm retired US Airforce, born and raised sky watching, going to air shows, living on Air Force bases.

What is in that picture flew in a non-ballistic manner. It vanished into the sky as tho it was shrinking. To me it looked like it was getting smaller, then it was gone.

Gravity would have to be overcome/ illusion.

This article makes total sense to me. I've seen it in action up close.

What is in those pictures is real. I have a scientific education and the people must know what is going on in our atmosphere/ on our planet.

Something emerging from nothing may seem illogical to us, but perhaps reality does not feel the need to conform to human notions of logic.

Allan - The fact that you "have never believed that the universe began from nothing" And, "Just as i cannot believe this universe was born of nothing, i cannot therefor believe that black holes simply destroy the energy and matter they consume."
On what do you base your disbelief?
Closed minds and preconceived convictions severely restrict ones ability to learn and experience reality.
They lead you to accept only those theories and evidence that match your preconceptions giving a biased and distorted perspective.
Who knows - You may be right - But having an open mind and looking at alternatives usually leads to better understanding and often great surprise.

I agree with other commenters (and this article) ... The universe has been here "forever". Time, space, matter and energy cannot exist separate from one or more observers.
Quantum mechanics and Ancient Wisdom both agree with this intuitive position(Read: "The Tao of Physics").
It also seems irrefutable that inside a black hole, you have everything needed to constitute an isolated "universe within a universe". The energy is obviously NOT anihilated as evidenced by the gravity it possesses.
And the creation of a black hole, viewed from within, would resemble a "big bang". Is the "microwave background" really the event horizon viewed from the other side?
Finally, matter and energy DO appear out of nowhere constantly. That old conservation law is really just an average, not an absolute.
The only thing I can't explain is why we appear to be in the CENTER of the black hole.

Quantum entanglement=Gravity, as two bodies approach each other, their particles are
entangled and attracted to each other, forming a molecular bond or gravity. The closer
they are, the more particles become entangled on a quantum level. The laws of gravity
are entangled with the laws of quantum physics.


Quantum entanglement occurs when particles such as photons, electrons, molecules as large as buckyballs,[1][2] and even small diamonds[3][4] interact physically and then become separated; the type of interaction is such that each resulting member of a pair is properly described by the same quantum mechanical description (state), which is indefinite in terms of important factors such as position,[5] momentum, spin, polarization, etc.

I think it's wrong to consider gravity an effect of particles when put together. Gravity is one of the fundamental forces in the universe. The fact that it plays no part in particle physics is because it is a very small force. The strong nuclear force for example, is 10^39 times as strong as the gravitational force. The strong nuclear force however, doesn't affect a ball falling down. Gravity does.

Gravity does affect particles, but the force is so small, you only notice the other forces (weak, electromagnetic & strong forces). But that doesn't mean it's an illusion. It's an effect that has been proven since Newton discovered it.

The only thing that gravity doesn't have is a mediating particle (that has been observed), such as the gluon for the strong force. But it's probably just a matter of time before we discover that one.

But it's a little bit far fetched to declare gravity an illusion.

I have a theory that gravity is emergent as opposed to fundamental, and its emergence is due to its being the equal and opposite reaction to the expansion of the universe. Maybe I am being incredibly naive, I am not a qualified scientist. But if this theory is a non-starter can someone please tell me why?

Dear Sirs and Madams.
I know you are all clever people but you all seem to have your head in the sand, as a layman I like to see things that are practical and see some of your ideas as like religion, you can’t all be right, so why should we believe any one as none of you seem to understand gravity.
First of all you can’t prove that it is pulling you to the ground. To do that, and let’s take the example of the Moon, gravity would have to travel to the Moon, react with it and then remember where it came from and take it back, even though the Earth had moved on.
You think that gravity emanates from the Earth, so why don’t miners stick to the walls.
We have a centre of gravity for all masses which means that if you where standing on an oblong planet of sand that had a round chunk of iron inside, you would have your body pointing down towards the centre of gravity which means that gravity is passing through the planet.
You have scientists at the bottom of the deepest mines looking for particles that can pass through the Earth when all the time gravity is passing through them.
Gravity is not as weak as you think it is, it has the ability to move you from a thirty two foot high building to the ground in one second and continue to do that again on top of the speed you are doing up to the speed of light if you are heading towards a black hole, which we all are, eventually.
It will also cause galaxies to collide, so it is far reaching. In fact gravity is everywhere, acting on each and every particle.
Consider this, when gravity that is passing through you or any mass, has had an effect on a particle in your body, in other words to move it, that action must have an effect on the gravity, and if the gravity that has passed through a mass is weakened by this action then there will be a disparity between gravity leaving the mass (let’s say the Earth) and that arriving. The effect would be that anything between these forces would be moved in the direction of the Earth and that would give the impression of falling to the Earth.
And not a single bit of algebra, maths or Cambridge education needed. Easy when you think about it isn’t it.

What exists and what does not is a matter of perception and conscious awareness. In science too we have had earlier developments that seem to disappear from the scene. Sometimes a few of these do seem to re-appear again. Observation and measurement can not be made instantaneously. Thus, time duration becomes as important as time itself. Similarly, space is a concept that needs to be understood in terms of perfect vacuum. Physics and other sciences are based on relative measurements and absoluteness does not form the basis for anything we do or propose. To me understanding the concept of 'consciousness' appears to be at the base of all the knowledge. Also, it is a fact of life that all the rules of the game of life and existence exist from the start as total knowledge is synonimous with existence. to me it is not yet settled if the Big Bang or the steady state theory of the universe is correct! This struggle is likely to continue as measurements get limited by time required for response by the sensors employed. Nothing is observable in no time or instantaneously! String theory is still a novelty of sorts as observations become stringent to its demands. Thus, it is best to remain unsure and continue to struggle in life from moment to moment. Living is possible only at an instant of life! The rest is past or lies in future. Time is our greatest mystery and so also the space occupied/unoccupied!

Time i have always felt was a illusion due to our limited observation of it. If time travel is possible both forward and backwards, then it stands to reason that time is an illusion. If all things that can happen and have happened, or will happen as we observe them all exist in one perfect moment.

I had an interesting theory about deja vu as it exists and is something everyone has experienced before. I think our brains are capable of tapping into the perfect matrix, where pure energy is not bound by time. Allowing us to see the past, present, and future if even just for a flash.

Ogden - that was Mathew, not me!

Noochy - OK, How is this?
"If you kill another human you kill a person. If you kill yourself, you kill the universe!"

P.S. The only thing we know for sure about gravity is that it sucks!

Everything can't be explained, simply because people are not perfect, they lack the understanding of the things they can not measure or make it logical. We assume dark energy this, dark matter that without even thinking what it could be. Words are powerful so we need to be very careful of what we say, since we don't know what it is.

I read the article in full. Unless it was intentionally garbled by the reporter, Prof. Eric Verlinde is spouting utter gibberish. His thoughts are embarrassingly incoherent. What is the man saying? The only message I got was, "wait and see, what they think you know is all wrong!" Is this a joke?

^ Actually no, if go back and read it again slowly this time. You might understand that what he is in fact saying is very simple. The models we use to understand the expansion of the universe, do not match our observations. So therefore we must either find a new model for creation of our universe or modify the current ones to include other unknown forces (eg dark matter and energy).

Allan W. Jansen,

"The theory of all inclusive state, etc.," means NOTHING, because NADA (NOTHING) mean exactly that NOTHING !!
Socrates said:
"I only know that I don't know anything" and he was right and still is !!
Humanity and its great minds from time immemorial and up until today has not and won't find the answer to the mystery of creation, universe, universes !!
We are too stupid, insignificant and especially small minded creatures in the cosmological scheme of things to be able to EVER discover the true mechanics of what makes you and everyone else different from one another, literally !!

Nothing can come from nothing.There should be something.I rather prefer cyclic theory of universe - sounds better.

Also I think the biggest illusion is time.For me its not a dimension.Making it a dimension will enable you to do your math comprehansvely but actually it's all about measurement of state changes of things and we created the sense of time to comprehansively describe those changes.Other first 3 dimensions are not our creation,those really exist.

But what this article says is interesting,I have never thought it in this way.But why ppl did not talk about this that much ? I mean 2010 it was started and now it is almost 2013 !What happened in between time ?Any update ?

Thanks to the editorial staff on It is very refreshing to read this article,

1) I very much agree with Erik Verlinde in this: “that we can also start from a microscopic formulation where there is no gravity to begin with, but you can derive it”. For instants, if we study the fertilization process with a sperm- and egg-cell, we can observe a formation process that goes on all over in the observable universe.

2) The formation process in a cell is a question of a bioelectric source (the sperm with its swirling tale) that activates matter (the egg cell), and the dividing process that take place via the biomagnetic field that is created when the light-impulse of the sperm penetrated the egg cell.

The following processing of electromagnetically adding and binding cells in the fetus can be compared to any other formation processes and this is a basic natural and universal law.

3) Keeping this electromagnetic circuit and spherical formation imagery in mind, I´ll later on try to describe several cosmological hypotheses in the light of such a formation process.

4) - But, as Verlinde also write in his work: “The universal nature of gravity is also demonstrated by the fact that its basic equations closely resemble the laws of thermodynamics and hydrodynamics. So far, there has not been a clear explanation for this resemblance”. (Article linked below)

5) So, of course other natural phenomenon and laws are playing a role when it comes to an attempt to explain how “gravity seemingly works”: Electric charge, electromagnetism, plasma physics, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics and nuclear dynamics – and I also think it would be very important to include atmospheric dynamics, especially as it can be observed in strong weather pressures and hurricanes that very much looks like – and works like – the swirling galaxies.

6) The formational process in a galaxy is a spherical circuit. Sometime something is spiraling toward the centre of the hole – that is: the Funnel – and sometime something is spiraling outwards and away from the centre in this nuclear formation.

“Gravity” cannot be connected to any special location in such a circuit of fluent gas and matter and stars and planets. It cannot be connected to a “black hole” and not to an “object in the black hole”. The “galactic rotation anomaly” confirms this spherical circuit of formation where gas and matter goes inside the funnel and comes out as stars and planets and so on. This galactic anomaly should really have been the first full stop for the use of Newtonian celestial laws. But instead “dark matter” was invented, sadly enough.

The “curvation of space” is just an adjustment of the Newtonian contradicted celestial laws. The space cannot have an inbuilt quality and property of curvation – or of time for that matter. “Curvation” is a normal movement of gas and matter, of rotating stars and orbiting planets in space. Our local group of galaxies is also moving in large curves in a large circuit around an even greater center and so on.

The “conservation of energy” law really forbids the Big Bang theory itself. Something cannot come from nothing. All fundamental elements and all the gaseous fluids and metallic matter in the Universe are constant – and in constant motion and changes. The Big Bang theory origin from the linear – and Earth centered - time scale in which scientists really tries to describe cosmic motions that not are linear at all.

- I certainly go for an endless Universe of constant rearrangement of all matter – and it is my firm opinion that modern scientists have become very unnatural and theoretically mathematical in the latest 100 year or so.

In fact, we need to imply more philosophical and natural thoughts into the modern cosmological confusion. And in fact: Our ancestors new intuitively and spiritually more of the basics in microcosmos and macrocosmos than modern science.

Stories of Creation from many cultures are precise cosmological descriptions, via celestial symbolism, especially dealing with the creation of our Milky Way and solar system.

- So what about “gravity on the Earth”? In my opinion this feeling of weight partly comes from the biomagnetic lumping of my cells and partly from the pressure that origin from the Earth orbital speed around the Sun which creates “the atmospheric pressure” (that also mimics the “laws of gravity”) – and of course also the solar wind pressure and pressures from our galactic centre.

The consensus mechanical celestial laws in our solar system are also confused. Looking at the galactic circuital formation, and accepting this, our solar system was once formatted and launched from within the galactic centre and has slowly moved out in the galactic arm via the bars in the galaxy.

The solar and planetary rotation and planetary orbit was once given from the swirling momentum inside the galactic centre where our solar system gained these velocities via the Bennett Z-Pinch effect in the centre.

As said above: “Gravity” cannot be connected to anything or any objects that moves in circuits.


Erik Verlinde: “On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton” -

Steven J. Crothers: “A Brief History of Black Holes” - - where the author also describe how the “Schwarzschild radius” is a mathematical flaw.

- I wish Erik Verlinde all the Best and Good Luck in his alternative efforts to clear up the modern mess and confusion in cosmological science. We need to go back to basics and start all over again.

Ivar Nielsen
Natural Philosopher

Regarding my earlier response to Allan W Janssen's comment.

After reading your blog I can see you are, in fact, open minded and so retract my erroneous critique.

Humble apologies

if nothing exists if its all a hologram then god is out there making the holograms

I think all forces are illusions because both the observed and the observer particle are forced to be in motion to remain uncertain. Inertial frames of rest are not quantum compatible, as geodesics do not vary, and so become subject to time averaging violations of quantum uncertainty. The forces causes the differences in observed motion from the abstract implied motion. There is no force, just miss understanding of what is observed, and from where.

I always thought gravity was a consequence of mass? Like it's said in the article, you can compare it with temperature: it's not observable on itself but a consequence of the energy with which particles move. Same with gravity: you can not observe it but rather experience it when there is enough mass, made with particles that each individually contributes it's weak binding forces to the greater force of gravity

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)