Emergent Gravity


I was watching on internet a public lecture by Erik Verlinde on Entropic Gravity which he recently gave at Perimeter Institute in Canada. Apparently physicists are struggling with some great cosmological mysteries. He has a new theory on gravity often taught as a fundamental force in physics textbooks. According to him, gravity is an emergent phenomenon which arises from entangled quantum bits. It is emergent because it is not a fundamental force, but arises out of more basic and microscopic fabric of the universe. Being a computer scientist, I am intrigued by the central role of entropy, that is, information content, in this new perspective. Only with time, further work and observations, we will know whether the new ideas will prevail. All part of scientific progress.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. ” Famous quotation by Albert Einstein. We are restless beings, propelled onward by desire to understand, create, express and explore.

M’illumino, d’immenso; by Giuseppe Ungaretti. I flood myself with the light of the immense. Beautiful exclamation by the poet.

What we understand about the universe is literally based on the light of the immense! But visible light makes up only 0.005% of the universe. Next 5% is matter, and the remaining 95% is complete mystery.

Even though it may be all very mysterious, it is great tribute to human mind to reach this stage in which we can formulate these mysteries and propose new theories. The light of the immense will continue to make us march onward!



Sahir Ludhianvi and Mystery of Time


When I was growing up in India, like everyone around me, I was fortunate to experience some great music from Bollywood. Wonderful voices of Rafi Sahib, Asha Ji, Kishore Da, Lata Ji, and many other great singers, combined with poetry of many talented writers, provided a deep aesthetic experience for our growing minds. Radio used to be always on in my childhood home.

In particular, Sahir Ludhianvi’s poetry stood out. I remember two songs “sansaar ki har shay ka” and “aage bhi jaane na tu” which made me wonder as there seemed to be a jewel hidden in the songs.

Later I learned how physicists are grappling with the nature of time. Whether it is Arthur Eddington’s Arrow of Time, or The Wheeler-DeWitt equation of a timeless universe, or emergent space-time in quantum theory, time remains a fundamental mystery. Even the notion of the present moment and how we perceive it, is amazing as shown by Einstein in relativity of time and in relativity of simultaneity. Thanks to my daughter who keeps me updated with all this wonderful science. 🙂

In “sansaar ki har shay ka”, here is the translation of one of the stanzas:

where is this path from, where is it leading to,

nobody knows the secret of this mystery.

on the Eyelid of this moment, rests the cosmos,

till the closing of the Eye, all this is a beautiful game

and, here is from “aage bhi jaane na tu”:

you don’t know what is ahead, you don’t know what is behind you,

whatever is, is this moment alone

Sahir is expressing his awe and sense of mystery, and how our subjective experience of the present moment creates the magic of universe and brings it to life to us.

A poet’s expression and a theoretical physicist’s equation. Two sides of a great effort to understand.

I wish all the bright minds, and students in sciences, and new generations, very best to unravel this deep mystery.