Gravity: An Emergent Phenomenon



Monday 14 March in Building 1 – Room E302
Speaker: Professor Thanu Padmanabhan (IUCAA, Pune University)
Date: 14th March 2011

I present the theoretical evidence which suggests that gravity is an emergent phenomenon like gas dynamics or elasticity with the gravitational field equations having the same status as, say, the equations of fluid dynamics/elasticity. This paradigm views a wide class of gravitational theories – including, but not limited to, Einstein’s theory – as describing the thermodynamic limit of the statistical mechanics of `atoms of spacetime’. Strong internal evidence in favour of such a point of view is presented using the classical features of the gravitational theories with just one quantum mechanical input, viz. the existence of Davies-Unruh temperature of horizons. I discuss several conceptual ingredients of this approach. [Most of the lecture will be accessible to non-experts.]