A lotta physicists are spending more time a-dwellin’ and a-worryin about emergent phenomenon.
The laws of thermodynamics, for example, emerge from the statistical rules that govern many-particle behavior, the complexities of our society seem to emerge from simple rules that govern human behavior and some physicists believe the strange paradoxes of quantum mechanics can be explained if it is thought of as an emergent phenomenon from a more fundamental world.
Now Silke Weinfurtner at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand says spacetime itself may be an emergent property. In an impressive PhD thesis, she starts with a universe of fundamental quantum objects such as strings, atoms or molecules and shows how a spacetime-like geometry emerges as this universe evolves. That should get a few bods a-sweatin’ and a-broodin’ over their quantum spacetime models
Weinfurtner’s model makes many of the same predictions as current models of quantum gravity but in a much simpler and more satisfying way. So Ocams razor should make it easy to choose between ‘em.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0711.4416: Emergent spacetimes