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'Gravity-The Movie' Wins 7 Oscars --Physicists Ask: "Is Gravity an Illusion?"


  Gravity-review (1)

"Gravity" won Oscar gold in seven of those categories, missing only Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Production Design. The film stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as an astronaut who fights for her survival after being cut loose from her space shuttle. Don't miss the interview below with Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, who won the Oscar for best director. It was the first Academy Award for Cuaron, 52, and the first best director Oscar for a Mexican. His 3-D film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney mixes dazzling special effects, suspense and human drama. As a child, Cuaron wanted to be an astronaut, spent three years with a team developing the film's special effects and on-screen space panoramas, which many critics said broke new ground in the use of 3-D cinematic technology.

"Gravity's" Oscar nominations included Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a leading role (Bullock), Best Original Score , Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Production Design. 




In January 2010, Erik Verlinde, professor ofTheoretical 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 bettertheory 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 Reuters, University of St. Andrews, University of Amsterdam and Erik Verlinde


Physicists Ask : "Is Gravity an Illusion ?"

Or perhaps it's a collective Delusion based upon a false set of assumptions, one of which is that each of Us is a separate individual contained within a Body ? On one level that's true but on a different level Our consciousness (or Mind) cannot be pinned down to any particular point within the Body ... You can't prise open the Brain with a scalpel and point to it now can you ?

To me the “problem” of Physics is in its attempt to categorise and explain something that is essentially beyond words and descriptions (Models), or in other words, it’s beyond our Human Perception of it !

The very fact that what you're now reading on the "screen" in front of you is merely the interpretation of various Neuronal / Chemical / Electrical stimuli via your Brain should at least make you realise that not everything is as it seems :)

Personally I don't think there can be any solution to the "Larger questions of Life" without the vital element of our Consciousness being a central part of any such solution ! I have to agree with the Article in that it makes no sense whatsoever that there was "Nothing" and then "Something" ... because that "Something" had to come from somewhere didn't it ?

Could it actually be such that the Universe is in fact "Beginningless" but to our limited Perception of it that would seem to be an Impossibility wouldn’t it ?

In my view there are certain principles at play that will forever remain Paradoxical :)

Gravity is truely a fascinating force. It is so mundane, but yet we know almost nothing about it.

Some questions, which puzzle me:
- Where is gravity exactly located? Is it in the "stuff" itself or the spacefabric that surrounds the stuff?
- Does gravity ever deplete?
- How does gravity "know", what it should pull? I.e. is gravity always "on" or does something trigger it?
- Does gravity affect empty space in any way?
- Can gravity be artificially created without the "stuff"?
- Can the pull of gravity be avoided in some way?
- Is there an opposite force to gravity (i.e. push)?

People forget that mathematical physics is essentially the theoretical assembly of mathematical models. And mathematical modeling involves only the use of a language of patterns and equivalence classes. This means, of course, that a certain train of mathematical equations can be mathematically and logically correct even though the ensuing descriptive interpretation of that mathematics might be just one of many possibilities. The mathematics is what is important - the rest is just the metaphor needed for entertainment.

We should try applying a kind of Zen approach to conceptualizing gravity and other ‘scientific’ puzzles: gravity from a Newtonian point-of-view is equivalent to space-bending, there is an equivalence of perspective. And likewise there are, if we try hard enough to visualize them, equivalences for many other physics/scientific phenomena. Might the crucial test of any perspective be, ‘can we make something out of a POV that works’, i.e. the test of mundane pragmatism. This might mean there are many options to theoretical interpretations of a ‘scientific’ problem and they all might work - probably because very different appearing theories might in fact be based on the same principle which we haven’t yet figured out. Another way to ooh at things is to realize that the test of pragmatism might work in many cases until...we arrive at the critical point where pragmatic applications of a theory (perspective) fail - then we know at least where and when to start a new line of thought, or where to eliminate optimal perspectives and get nearer to the “Truth’ as we seem driven to if there might be just one truth, a very un-quantum world perspective.

I personally didn't really enjoy that movie. The only part that was cool is seeing all those stars and their view of earth.

I wouldn't state that "gravity is an illusion" but I'm indifferent about it being a fundamental 'constant' law... referring to gravity as a principle is probably far more accurate of a statement.

Winestein had an interesting idea. Since most things seem to be positive, negative, plus, minus, matter, antimatter etc. perhaps the opposite of gravities pull is a PUSH. (Dark Energy)

Perhaps all of physics is an illusion. We don't have a fundamental understanding of space, time, or energy. This puts us in the situation of building awesome towers of abstraction on a foundation which is just about as solid as a cloud. Not a very comfortable position.

1. Perhaps all life has curiosity but humans seem to have more than what their absolute need is.
2. They should have used it to live better and closer to nature but that is not the way it is.
3. They have somehow found some truths, fondly called science, of this creation and mastery to exploit the same for their sensual satisfaction and pleasure. That is a bottomless pit in which they are at present.
4. Vedic period of Hindus ended because except a few not many understood what that knowledge meant. Present science is similar story at its peak.
5. It is quite laughable how a creamy(knowledge wise) layer of humans make their livelihood through science and fuel the business activity. Common man is addicted to what all is served to him by this nexus.
6. Humans must know what mother nature is. But the knowledge must not be abused for our sensual gratification. The question is when will they say this( curiosity) is enough no more now. Are they capable of realizing that ? Very little chance. But they do have the capability to self-destruct. Thanks.

Too bad 3D movies give me motion sickness.....can't watch it. lol

I'm with Verlinde on his ideas expressed above. I've long been of the opinion that we need to begin with the basic precept which states: "There's no such thing as nothing." Perhaps simply by definition and logic we should accept this. But, the more understanding we have of the nature of macro and micro we, by now, need to offer properties of those which combine to adduce this principle. When we can begin there, we won't find ourselves chasing the "no rabbits" down obvious rabbit holes.

I'm still trying to grasp how Sandra Bullock managed to destroy 2 space stations, and a space shuttle in one movie!? lol We need to figure out a way to clean up the debris around the Earth!?

actually , if you saw the movie, everything started because of the russians... as usual...

This is amazing – a collection of best pictures ever of Earth more 20 best pictures ever of Earth

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