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NATURE NEWS FEATURE 500, 516-519 (29 August 2013) doi:10.


Theoretical physics: The origins of space and time

Many researchers believe that physics will not be complete until it can explain not just the behaviour of space and time, but where these entities come from.

Zeeya Merali
HOLOGRAPHY: The holographic principle is a property of quantum gravity and string theories that states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a boundary to the regionpreferably alight-like boundary like a gravitational horizon. First proposed by Gerard 't Hooft, it was given a precise [1] string-theory interpretation by Leonard Susskind who combined his ideas with previous ones of 't Hooft and Charles Thorn. (Wiki)

In a larger sense, the theory suggests that the entire universe can be seen as a two-dimensional information structure "painted" on the cosmological horizon, such that the three dimensions we observe are only an effective description at macroscopic scales and at low energies. The holographic principle was inspired by black hole thermodynamics, which implies that the maximal entropy in any region scales with the radius squared, and not cubed as might be expected. In the case of a black hole, the insight was that the informational content of all the objects that have fallen into the hole can be entirely contained in surface fluctuations of the event horizon. The holographic principle resolves the black hole information paradox within the framework of string theory. Gravity as thermodynamics A provocative hint comes from a series of startling discoveries made in the early 1970s, when it became clear that quantum mechanics and gravity were intimately intertwined with thermodynamics, the science of heat. In 1974, most famously, Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge, UK, showed that quantum effects in the space around a black hole will cause it to spew out radiation as if it was hot. Other physicists quickly determined that this phenomenon was quite general. Even before Hawking's 1974 paper, Jacob Bekenstein, now at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, had shown that black holes possess entropy. But there was a difference. In most objects, the entropy is proportional to the number of atoms the object contains, and thus to its volume. But a black hole's entropy turned out to be proportional to the surface area of its event horizon the boundary out of which not even light can escape. It was as if that surface somehow encoded information about what was inside, just as a two-dimensional hologram encodes a three-dimensional image.

And in separate work, Thanu Padmanabhan, a cosmologist at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy 3 and Astrophysics in Pune, India, showed that Einstein's equations can be rewritten in a form that makes them identical to the laws of thermodynamics as can many alternative theories of gravity. Padmanabhan is currently extending the thermodynamic approach in an effort to explain the origin and magnitude of dark energy: a mysterious cosmic force that is accelerating the Universe's expansion. Or, as Maldacena puts it: This suggests that quantum is the most fundamental, and space -time emerges from it.


``As of now, there is no observational evidence of any of the predictions of ``Quantum Gravity (QG); for instance despite searching for 30 years Gamma Ray Astronomers have failed to detect any signature of ``Hawking Radiation in the form of explosion of primordial black holes (BH). None of the leading Gamma Ray experiments, HESS, VERITAS, MAGIC have found any evidence for any ``granular structure of space or any ``Lorentz Invariance Violation during the propagation of gamma rays from distant sources. All claims of QG and in particular ``cell /atomic structure of space are at best phenomenology, and it can be easily seen that such notions are actually incorrect. At one point this article conceives of ``the three-dimensional space responds by gradually dividing itself like a splitting cell. But if the space splits itself like a ``cell, what would be there in between two ``cells? Certainly the concept of a background space between the ``cells would again creep up, and one is bound to accept the concept of a continuous classical background space even when one would fancy to junk it! Further, we must admit that all real observations are consistent with the idea that gravity is a classical phenomenon which is best explained by General Relativity (GR). Further all quantum mechanical effects must agree with their classical counterparts in the limit Planck constant h=0. And if the space has an atomic structure where atoms have dimension ~Lp (Planck Length), the number density of atoms n~ 1/Lp^3. Then the statistical density of states of the vacuum gas ~1/Lp^3 so that the entropy ~1/Lp^3. To recover the classical counterpart, one must let Lp=0. But this would lead to infinite entropy, infinite temperature T even for classical vacuum i.e., nothingness. Similarly, the idea that a BH of mass M and an Event Horizon (EH) of area A is endowed with an entropy S~A/Lp^2 is inconsistent because S=Infty in the classical limit h=0, when for a classic GR BH, S=0 because it corresponds to a unique frozen state. One cannot get away from such dire contradictions by insisting that there is no classical vacuum, no classical spacetime, and may be no GR. After all the concepts of BH and EH whose interpretations led to ``Emergent Gravity ideas are results of classical gravity where h=0. Interestingly, long back Narlikar & Padmanabhan (Found. Phys. 18, 659, 1987) wisely concluded that ``It is shown that inconsistencies arise when we look upon the Schwarzschild solution as the spacetime arising from a localized point singularity. The notion of black holes is critically examined, and it is argued that, since black hole formation never takes place within the past light cone of a typical external observer, the discussion of physical behavior of black holes, classical or quantum, is only of academic interest. It is suggested that problems related to the source could be avoided if the event horizon did not form and that the universe only contained quasi-black hole. Later Padmanabhan (Phys. Lett. A 136, 203, 1989) showed that if a star would contract within its EH, the entropy of a test particle would blow up. He correctly insisted that this effect is not due to any ``coordinate singularity contradicting the notion of a finite mass BH. Much later it was found that during physical gravitational collapse neither any trapped surface nor any true BH/EH can form at a finite proper time, a fact which immediately resolves BH Information (and all other paradoxes) associated with EHs (Mitra, Pramana 73, 615, 2009). Simultaneously, it was shown that though BH solutions are exact, the associated integration constants are zero, and MATHEMATICAL BHs have M=0 (Mitra, J. Math. Phys. 50, 042502, 2009; also astro-ph/0409049). This means that the

static BH solutions correspond to the asymptotic final states of physical gravitational collapse where entire mass-energy and angular momentum are radiated away. Thus the so-called BH Candidates must be Quasi- BHs rather than true BHs. Further it has been shown that the

natural form of the quasi-BHs are quasi-static hot balls of plasma (Eternally Collapsing Objects); where outward radiation pressure balances the inward pull of gravity: i.e., ECOs radiate at their GR Eddington Luminosity (Mitra & Glendenning, MNRAS 404, L50, 2010; Mitra ,MNRAS 367, L66, 2006; 369, 492, 2006). During the preceding gravitational collapse, ECOs must acquire strong INTRINSIC magnetic field and become ``Magnetospheric ECOs (MECOs). All BH candidates are likely to be MECOs. Thus one can understand evidence of strong magnetic field ~10^8 G near the accretion disk of Cygnus X-1 (Gnedin et al. arXiv:astro-ph/0304158). Also, there are almost direct evidences that central engines of quasars are MECOs rather than BHs (Schild et al. Astronomical Journal, 132, 420, 2006, ). Thus there is no true horizon, no true BH, no finite BH entropy, and no puzzle. In fact, with the unique mass M=0, for a mathematical BH, Hawking formula yields T=1/8 pi M =Infty; i.e., the horizon & central singularity are synonymous of a mathematical M=0 BH having horizon area A=0; its T must be Infinite because this is physical singularity. A classical gravity BH has S=0. This is also explained by the Hawking formula only in the limit M=0; A=0 because S= k ln w=0; w=1 corresponding to the unique frozen state. So there is no necessity for hypothetical ``Holography and ``Emergent Gravity, ``Emergent Spacetime. Einsteins good old GR continues to be retain its beauty & importance. Finally, gravity is not a fundamental field in the sense of electromagnetism and notions of ``quantization of gravity, i.e., ``quantization of spacetime structure may not only be unnecessary but fundamentally meaningless. The recent suggestions that Cosmological Constant is actually non-existent (Mitra, Nature Sc. Rep. 2, 923, 2012; JCAP 03, 007, 2013) strengthens this view.