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Emergent perspective of gravity and dark energy

T. Padmanabhan


There is sufficient amount of internal evidence in the nature of gravitational theories to indicate that gravity is an emergent phenomenon like, e.g, elasticity. Such an emergent nature is most apparent in the structure of gravitational dynamics. It is, however, possible to go beyond the field equations and study the space itself as emergent in a well-defined manner in (and possibly only in) the context of cosmology. In the first part of this review, I describe various pieces of evidence which show that gravitational field equations are emergent. In the second part, I describe a novel way of studying cosmology in which I interpret the expansion of the universe as equivalent to the emergence of space itself. In such an approach, the dynamics evolves towards a state of holographic equipartition, characterized by an equality in the number of bulk and surface degrees of freedom in a region bounded by the Hubble radius. This principle correctly reproduces the standard evolution of a Friedmann universe. Further, (a) it demands the existence of an early inflationary phase as well as late time acceleration for its successful implementation and (b) allows us to link the value of late time cosmological constant to the e-folding factor during inflation.


cosmology: theory — cosmology: cosmological parameters — emergent gravity — holographic principle

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