Abstract:
The current acceleration of the universe can be modeled in terms of a cosmological constant. We show that the extremely small value of \Lambda L_P^2 ~ 3.4 x 10^{-122}, the holy grail of theoretical physics, can be understood in terms of a new, dimensionless, conserved number CosMIn (N), which counts the number of modes crossing the Hubble radius during the three phases of evolution of the universe. Theoretical considerations suggest that N ~ 4\pi. This single postulate leads us to the correct, observed numerical value of the cosmological constant! This approach also provides a unified picture of cosmic evolution relating the early inflationary phase to the late-time accelerating phase.

Abstract:
Several features of electrostatics of point charged particles in a weak, homogeneous, gravitational field are discussed using the Rindler metric to model the gravitational field. Some previously known results are obtained by simpler and more transparent procedures and are interpreted in an intuitive manner. Specifically: (i) We show that the electrostatic potential of a charge at rest in the Rindler frame is expressible as A_0=(q/l) where l is the affine parameter distance along the null geodesic from the charge to the field point. (ii) We obtain the sum of the electrostatic forces exerted by one charge on another in the Rindler frame and discuss its interpretation. (iii) We show how a purely electrostatic term in the Rindler frame appears as a radiation term in the inertial frame. (In part, this arises because charges at rest in a weak gravitational field possess additional weight due to their electrostatic energy. This weight is proportional to the acceleration and falls inversely with distance -- which are the usual characteristics of a radiation field.) (iv) We also interpret the origin of the radiation reaction term by extending our approach to include a slowly varying acceleration. Many of these results might have possible extensions for the case of electrostatics in an arbitrary static geometry. [Abridged Abstract]

Abstract:
We discuss the non-relativistic limit of quantum field theory in an inertial frame, in the Rindler frame and in the presence of a weak gravitational field, highlighting and clarifying several subtleties. We study the following topics: (a) While the action for a relativistic free particle is invariant under the Lorentz transformation, the corresponding action for a non-relativistic free particle is not invariant under the Galilean transformation, but picks up extra contributions at the end points. This leads to an extra phase in the non-relativistic wave function under a Galilean transformation, which can be related to the rest energy of the particle even in the non-relativistic limit. (b) We show how the solution to the generally covariant Klein-Gordon equation in a non-inertial frame, which has a time-dependent acceleration, reduces to the quantum mechanical wave function in the presence of an appropriate (time-dependent) gravitational field, in the non-relativistic limit. The extra phase acquired by the non-relativistic wave function in an accelerated frame actually arises from the gravitational time dilation and survives in the non-relativistic limit. (c) We provide a detailed description of the non-relativistic limit of the Feynman propagator in a weak gravitational field, and discuss related issues. [Abridged Abstract]

Abstract:
Observations indicate that our universe is characterized by a late-time accelerating phase, possibly driven by a cosmological constant $\Lambda$, with the dimensionless parameter $\Lambda L_P^2 \simeq 10^{-122}$, where $L_P = (G \hbar /c^3)^{1/2}$ is the Planck length. In this review, we describe how the emergent gravity paradigm provides a new insight and a possible solution to the cosmological constant problem. After reviewing the necessary background material, we identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for solving the cosmological constant problem. We show that these conditions are naturally satisfied in the emergent gravity paradigm in which (i) the field equations of gravity are invariant under the addition of a constant to the matter Lagrangian and (ii) the cosmological constant appears as an integration constant in the solution. The numerical value of this integration constant can be related to another dimensionless number (called CosMIn) that counts the number of modes inside a Hubble volume that cross the Hubble radius during the radiation and the matter dominated epochs of the universe. The emergent gravity paradigm suggests that CosMIn has the numerical value $4 \pi$, which, in turn, leads to the correct, observed value of the cosmological constant. Further, the emergent gravity paradigm provides an alternative perspective on cosmology and interprets the expansion of the universe itself as a quest towards holographic equipartition. We discuss the implications of this novel and alternate description of cosmology.

Abstract:
certain peculiar features of einstein-hilbert (eh) action provide clues towards a holographic approach to gravity which is independent of the detailed microstructure of spacetime. these features of the eh action include: (a) the existence of second derivatives of dynamical variables; (b) a non trivial relation between the surface term and the bulk term; (c) the fact that surface term is non analytic in the coupling constant, when gravity is treated as a spin-2 perturbation around flat spacetime and (d) the form of the variation of the surface term under infinitesimal coordinate transformations. the surface term can be derived directly from very general considerations and using (d) one can obtain einstein's equations just from the surface term of the action. further one can relate the bulk term to the surface term and derive the full eh action based on purely thermodynamic considerations. the features (a), (b) and (c) above emerge in a natural fashion in this approach. it is shown that action agrav splits into two terms -s + be in a natural manner in any stationary spacetime with horizon, where e is essentially an integral over adm energy density and s arises from the integral of the surface gravity over the horizon. this analysis shows that the true degrees of freedom of gravity reside in the surface term of the action, making gravity intrinsically holographic. it also provides a close connection between gravity and gauge theories, and highlights the subtle role of the singular coordinate transformations.

Abstract:
The fact that one can associate thermodynamic properties with horizons brings together principles of quantum theory, gravitation and thermodynamics and possibly offers a window to the nature of quantum geometry. This review discusses certain aspects of this topic concentrating on new insights gained from some recent work. After a brief introduction of the overall perspective, Sections 2 and 3 provide the pedagogical background on the geometrical features of bifurcation horizons, path integral derivation of horizon temperature, black hole evaporation, structure of Lanczos-Lovelock models, the concept of Noether charge and its relation to horizon entropy. Section 4 discusses several conceptual issues introduced by the existence of temperature and entropy of the horizons. In Section 5 we take up the connection between horizon thermodynamics and gravitational dynamics and describe several peculiar features which have no simple interpretation in the conventional approach. The next two sections describe the recent progress achieved in an alternative perspective of gravity. In Section 6 we provide a thermodynamic interpretation of the field equations of gravity in any diffeomorphism invariant theory and in Section 7 we obtain the field equations of gravity from an entropy maximization principle. The last section provides a summary.

Abstract:
It is possible to provide a thermodynamic interpretation for the field equations in any diffeomorphism invariant theory of gravity. This insight, in turn, leads us to the possibility of deriving the gravitational field equations from another variational principle without using the metric as a dynamical variable. I review this approach and discuss its implications.

Abstract:
The constraints on the models for the structure formation arising from various cosmological observations at different length scales are reviewed. The status of different models for structure formation is examined critically in the light of these observations.

Abstract:
The gravitational clustering of collisionless particles in an expanding universe is modelled using some simple physical ideas. I show that it is indeed possible to understand the nonlinear clustering in terms of three well defined regimes: (1) linear regime (2) quasilinear regime which is dominated by scale-invariant radial infall and (3) nonlinear regime dominated by nonradial motions and mergers. Modelling each of these regimes separately I show how the nonlinear two point correlation function can be related to the linear correlation function in heirarchical models. This analysis leads to results which are in good agreement with numerical simulations thereby providing an explanation for numerical results. The ideas presented here will also serve as a powerful anlytical tool to investigate nonlinear clustering in different models. Several implications of the result are discussed.

Abstract:
It is possible to provide a physical interpretation for the field equations of gravity based on a thermodynamical perspective. The virtual degrees of freedom associated with the horizons perceived by the local Rindler observers, play a crucial role in this approach. In this context, the relation S=E/2T between the entropy (S), active gravitational mass (E) and temperature (T) - obtained previously in gr-qc/0308070 [CQG, 21, 4485 (2004)] - can be reinterpreted as the law of equipartition E = (1/2) nkT where n=A/L_P^2 is the number (density) of microscopic horizon degrees of freedom. Conversely, one can use the equipartition argument to provide a thermodynamic interpretation of even non-relativistic gravity. These results emphasize the intrinsic quantum nature of all gravitational phenomena and diminishes the distinction between thermal phenomena associated with local Rindler horizons and the usual thermodynamics of macroscopic bodies in non-inertial frames. Just like the original thermodynamic interpretation, these results also hold for a wide class of gravitational theories like the Lanczos-Lovelock models.