Gravity No More a Fundamental Force?
January 14, 2010
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Ever since Newton discovered gravitational force, people tried to understand how it worked. Unlike other forces gravity continued to puzzle scientists and people all the same.
Gravity – A Weak Force
Gravity is a weak force. The gravitational force is given by
Where is a constant, and is mass of the two respective bodies. Now, why do I call it as weak force?
Consider this scenario, when you are combing your hair, the hair falls down. When you calculate gravitational force, it take the entire mass of earth to act over a single hair. To make things worse, all you need is the static energy from the comb to lift the hair from floor. And yet you can not rule this force altogether. There were several theories put forward to explain gravitational force. Several approaches include string theory and quantum mechanics treatments.
Newton’s theory on gravity was often challenged by other theories. One of Newton’s contemporaries and natural philosopher Robert Hooke put forward a elasticity theory to explain gravity. However Hooke could not last long, and for a brief time Newton had the last laugh. But the controversies surrounding gravity dint stop there. Holographic hypothesis was one such recent theory put forward.
Holographic principle describes the volume of space is possibly enclosed on a boundary to the region, some thing like a gravitational horizon. It heavily depends on string theory and quantum gravity.
End of Gravity as Fundamental Force
In a recent paper published by Erik. P. Verlinde, a theoretical physicist, observes
One of the main points of this paper is that the holographic hypothesis provides a natural mechanism for gravity to emerge. It allows direct “contact” interactions between degrees of freedom associated with one material body and another, since all bodies inside a volume can be mapped on the same holographic screen. Once this is done, the mechanisms for Newton’s gravity and Hooke’s elasticity are surprisingly similar. We suspect that neither of these rivals would have been happy with this conclusion.
So, as it goes, it looks like time has caught up with Newton’s gravitational theory. A detailed explanation can be found here and Erik Verlinde’s explanation on his paper.