I’ve posted here before about Dr. Erik Verlinde’s new approach to looking at gravity, that tries to get at why gravity exists. It might come as something of a surprise to some that there is even a question to be answered; but both Newton’s theory of gravity, as a force that masses exert on one another, and Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, which models gravity as a “warping” of space-time in the presence of mass, are basically descriptive. They don’t tell us why there is gravity, or why it is far weaker than the other fundamental forces (the strong and weak nuclear forces, and electromagnetic force).
This week, the New York Times has an interesting article that gives a little more background on the development of Dr. Verlinde’s hypothesis. It is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done on the details, but some of the ideas are fascinating.
(The abstract of Dr. Verlinde’s paper is available here; there is also a link through which you can download the complete paper in PDF form.)