The outer regions of galaxies, like our own Milky Way, rotate much faster around the centre than can be accounted for by the quantity of ordinary matter like stars, planets and interstellar gasses. Something else has to produce the required amount of gravitational force, so physicists proposed the existence of dark matter. Dark matter seems to dominate our universe, comprising more than 80 percent of all matter. Hitherto, the alleged dark matter particles have never been observed, despite many efforts to detect them.
No need for dark matter
According to Erik Verlinde, there is no need to add a mysterious dark matter particle to the theory. In a new paper, which appeared today on the ArXiv preprint server, Verlinde shows how his theory of gravity accurately predicts the velocities by which the stars rotate around the center of the Milky Way, as well as the motion of stars inside other galaxies.
“We have evidence that this new view of gravity actually agrees with the observations, ” says Verlinde. “At large scales, it seems, gravity just doesn’t behave the way Einstein’s theory predicts.”
At first glance, Verlinde’s theory presents features similar to modified theories of gravity like MOND (modified Newtonian Dynamics, Mordehai Milgrom (1983)). However, where MOND tunes the theory to match the observations, Verlinde’s theory starts from first principles. “A totally different starting point,” according to Verlinde.
Adapting the holographic principle
One of the ingredients in Verlinde’s theory is an adaptation of the holographic principle, introduced by his tutor Gerard ‘t Hooft (Nobel Prize 1999, Utrecht University) and Leonard Susskind (Stanford University). According to the holographic principle, all the information in the entire universe can be described on a giant imaginary sphere around it. Verlinde now shows that this idea is not quite correct—part of the information in our universe is contained in space itself.
This extra information is required to describe that other dark component of the universe: Dark energy, which is believed to be responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe. Investigating the effects of this additional information on ordinary matter, Verlinde comes to a stunning conclusion. Whereas ordinary gravity can be encoded using the information on the imaginary sphere around the universe, as he showed in his 2010 work, the result of the additional information in the bulk of space is a force that nicely matches that attributed to dark matter.
Emergent gravity and apparent dark matter in cosmological scenarios
In this paper they have focused on the explanation of the observed gravitational phenomena attributed to dark matter. By this we mean the excess in the gravitational force or the missing mass that is observed in spiral or elliptical galaxies and in galaxy clusters. Of course, dark matter plays a central role in many other aspects of the current cosmological paradigm, in particular in structure formation and the explanation of the acoustic peaks in the cosmic microwave background. In none of these scenarios is it required that dark matter is a particle: all that is needed is that its cosmological evolution and dynamics is consistent with a pressureless fluid. In their description they eventually end up with an estimate of the apparent dark matter density that in many respects behaves as required for structure formation and perhaps even for the explanation of the CMB spectrum. Namely, effectively the apparent dark matter that
comes out of our emergent gravity description also leads to a gravitational potential that attracts the baryonic matter as cold dark matter would do.
By changing the way we view gravity, namely as an emergent phenomenon in which the Einstein equations need be derived from the thermodynamics of quantum entanglement, one also has to change the way we view the evolution of the universe. In particular, one should be able to derive the cosmological evolution equations from emergent gravity. For this one needs to first properly understand the role of quantum entanglement and the evolution of the total entropy of our universe. So it is still an open question if and how the standard cosmological picture is incorporated in a theory of emergent gravity. How does one interpret the expansion of the universe from this perspective? Or does inflation still play a role in an emergent cosmological scenario? All these questions are beyond the scope of the present paper. So we will not make an attempt to answer all or even a part of these questions. This also means that before these questions are investigated it is too early to make a judgement on whether their emergent gravity description of dark matter will also be able to replace the current particle dark matter paradigm in early cosmological scenario
Recent theoretical progress indicates that spacetime and gravity emerge together from the entanglement structure of an underlying microscopic theory. These ideas are best understood in Anti-de Sitter space, where they rely on the area law for entanglement entropy. The extension to de Sitter space requires taking into account the entropy and temperature associated with the cosmological horizon. Using insights from string theory, black hole physics and quantum information theory we argue that the positive dark energy leads to a thermal volume law contribution to the entropy that overtakes the area law precisely at the cosmological horizon. Due to the competition between area and volume law entanglement the microscopic de Sitter states do not thermalise at sub-Hubble scales: they exhibit memory effects in the form of an entropy displacement caused by matter. The emergent laws of gravity contain an additional `dark’ gravitational force describing the `elastic’ response due to the entropy displacement. We derive an estimate of the strength of this extra force in terms of the baryonic mass, Newton’s constant and the Hubble acceleration scale a_0 =cH_0, and provide evidence for the fact that this additional `dark gravity~force’ explains the observed phenomena in galaxies and clusters currently attributed to dark matter.
SOURCES- Delta Institute for Theoretical Physics, Arxiv
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