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Are Space, Time, And Gravity All Just Illusions?

11 Oct 2017, 14:01 UTC
Are Space, Time, And Gravity All Just Illusions?
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Two possible entanglement patterns in de Sitter space, representing entangled bits of quantum information that may enable space, time and gravity to emerge. Image credit: Erik Verlinde.It’s a fascinating idea, but how does it fare as a scientific theory?“Something is happening here and this is going to have an impact.” -Robert Dijkgraaf, on Verlinde’s workThe Universe, as we know it, has a fundamental flaw staring us right in our faces, letting us know that our knowledge is incomplete. The four fundamental forces are described by two different and mutually incompatible frameworks: General Relativity for gravitation, and Quantum Field Theory for the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. Einstein’s theory on its own is just fine, describing how matter-and-energy relate to the curvature of space-and-time. Quantum field theories on their own are fine as well, describing how particles interact and experience forces. But where gravitational fields are strongest, and on the smallest of scales, we have no way of describing nature. The physics of our greatest theories breaks down.The four forces (or interactions) of Nature, their force carrying particles and the phenomena or particles affected by them. The three interactions that govern the microcosmos are all much stronger than gravity and have been ...

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