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University of Amsterdam (UvA) professors Erik Verlinde and Eric Opdam, have received an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC).

University of Amsterdam (UvA) professors Erik Verlinde and Eric Opdam, have received an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC is an institute to fund groundbreaking research in the European Union. Verlinde receives a research grant of 2 million euros; Opdam receives 1.8 million euros.

Erik Verlinde receives 2 million euro for his research proposal 'EMERGRAV - Emergent Gravity, String Theory and the Holographic Principle'. Einstein's theory of general relativity is still considered the most accepted description of gravity within physics. Yet there is evidence from quantum mechanics, string theory and the theory of black holes, that gravity has a different underlying explanation. In a recent article Verlinde took a major step in uncovering the principles that underlie the origin of gravity. The awarding of this European grant will enable his research group to further develop these ideas. Especially in cosmology, there are important open questions that may be resolved and clarified with this new approach.

Eric Opdam receives 1.8 million euro for his research into the relationship between symmetry in geometry and in number theory. Common examples of symmetry in geometry are the translation and rotation symmetries in the space surrounding us. In the world of numbers, symmetry plays a key role, but this type of symmetry is hidden deeper. The unproven suspicions of mathematician Robert Langlands suggest that these different forms of symmetry are two sides of the same coin. In Opdam's proposed research, new techniques will be developed to analyse and map ‘Langlands correspondence' in detail. The research will be conducted in close collaboration with the German mathematician Bernhard Kroetz (Hanover, co-PI).

About the ERC Advanced Grant

The ERC Advanced Grant is a prestigious European research grant for individual researchers. It is part of the European Seventh Framework Programme (KP7), a grant program for the 2007-2013 period. The ERC Advanced Grant is awarded to outstanding individual researchers for groundbreaking research. Besides the research ideas, the track record of the researchers and the research environment are also assessed.