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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.The problems arise in extreme conditions: near black holes, or during the Big Bang.
In a new paper, which appeared today on the Ar Xiv 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.According to Verlinde, gravity is not a fundamental force of nature, but an emergent phenomenon.In the same way that temperature arises from the movement of microscopic particles, gravity emerges from the changes of fundamental bits of information, stored in the very structure of spacetime.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."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)).As such, the problem of determining the identity of dark matter has largely shifted to the fields of astroparticle and particle physics.In this talk, I will review the current status of the search for the nature of dark matter.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.