Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Science Forum

Science Forum

  1. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    08 Apr '08 10:08
    I've read that the origin of gravity has yet to be discovered, but I'm not so sure. Does anybody know where gravity comes from?


    GRAVITATION, n. The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportion to the quantity of matter they contain -- the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tendency to approach one another. This is a lovely and edifying illustration of how science, having made A the proof of B, makes B the proof of A. Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), 'The Devil's Dictionary', 1911
  2. 08 Apr '08 10:20
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I've read that the origin of gravity has yet to be discovered, but I'm not so sure. Does anybody know where gravity comes from?
    Gravity is one of the basic forces of the universe. It came into being at the same time universe came into being, some 14 billion years ago.
  3. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    08 Apr '08 10:30
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Gravity is one of the basic forces of the universe. It came into being at the same time universe came into being, some 14 billion years ago.
    Surely there's a more comprehensive explanation, explaining how gravity came into being.

    Something more satisfactory than this (!):

    WHERE DOES GRAVITY COME FROM?
    Newton established that all objects, however small or large, have gravity. He noted that small objects have less gravity than large objects and that the force of attraction diminishes rapidly as the objects move apart.
    Newton's research led to the Universal law of Gravitation.
    http://www.esci.keele.ac.uk/geophysics/Research/Gravity/what_is_gravity_.html

    If the answer is "officially unknown" then let me out of my misery.
  4. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    08 Apr '08 10:44 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I've read that the origin of gravity has yet to be discovered, but I'm not so sure. Does anybody know where gravity comes from?


    GRAVITATION, n. The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportion to the quantity of matter they contain -- the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tenden ...[text shortened]... of of B, makes B the proof of A. Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), 'The Devil's Dictionary', 1911
    Nobody knows: All we have are explanations to tell us how gravity works. Yes Eintein's theory of gravitation is better than Newton's one but still it lacks the fundamental knowledge you are speaking of.

    It is funny to notice that the great Newton knew and even said that all he had was a mathematical equation that described gravity and how bodies act according to it. He said that he would the task of knowing the why of gravity to the future generations. "Hypotheses non fingo" as he put it. One of the most beautiful thoughts I know. But unfortunately some people, even physicists, confused the equation with a more fundamental knowledge.

    That description of gravity you cited is just that. A description. It's like me saying inertia is the resistance that bodies put to being disturbed in their state of motion. It isn't fundamental knowledge. It's just a collection of words that summarise a concept. But a lot of people don't know how to distinguish them.

    If you want I can check out arXiv and see if I can find anything on this topic. But just let me know how technical are you in physics concepts and mathematical techniques.
  5. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    08 Apr '08 12:44
    Originally posted by adam warlock

    If you want I can check out arXiv and see if I can find anything on this topic. But just let me know how technical are you in physics concepts and mathematical techniques.
    You'd have to dumb it down quite a lot; but if you can convey complex concepts metaphorically ("it's like this, see ...", you might have a great career as a populariser of science

    Browsing around I've come across fascinating notions such that gravity spreads faster than light. It's all most fascinating.
  6. 08 Apr '08 13:14
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Browsing around I've come across fascinating notions such that gravity spreads faster than light.
    Is it so? I thought that speed of light is the fastest there is, that no information can go faster than light. Didn't Einstein say that? owever, this thought must be controversial.

    But describing the gravitation is not an answer the question, what is its origin.

    My first answer to your question was where it come from inthe beginning of time. But another interpretation of your question might be - from where comes the gravitation between objects today?

    Everything that has mass influence other things that has mass. The nearer the more. This information about how much mass a particle posess goes from that particle to other particles with the aid of gravitons, another kind of particles that carries this information. These particles emanates from every mass posessing particle.

    So the answer of your question, "what is the origin of gravitation?", must be "From every particle that posess mass.".
  7. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    08 Apr '08 13:25
    Originally posted by FabianFnas

    So the answer of your question, "what is the origin of gravitation?", must be "From every particle that posess mass.".
    Where does mass come from?
  8. 08 Apr '08 13:33
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Where does mass come from?
    One ansewr is: Mass is only another form of energy. Energy is the same thing and is expressed with the formula of Einstein E=mc2. So the mass comes from the same place as energy (and gravitation) - the Big Bang itself.

    Another answer is (but I'm not familiar with this kind of 'new' physics): The Higg's particle is responsible for the mass property. This particle is the carrier of the Higg's field. Some particles interact with this Higg's field so they appear to have mass. I think that string-theory answers these kind of questions more exact than can be done with ordinary particle physics. (I might be wrong here. This knowledge is not precisely tought in school for children.)
  9. 08 Apr '08 13:53 / 1 edit
    I tend to agree with those who say that we know 'how' gravity works but not 'what' it is. I don't think that physics can answer the ontological question -- what 'is' gravity -- in any truly meaningful sense.

    If gravity 'is' energy, then what is energy beyond 'how' it works? Is it just the mathematical equations that we have for describing 'how' it works? Is it the 'source' of what energy 'does'?

    If your asking the ontological question of what kind of being gravity is, then I don't think the scientist can help you. Take it to the philosophy forum.



    *** If you're asking where 'gravity' itself comes from, then I think you have to answer the ontological question first, but if you're only asking when the law of gravity came into effect, then I'm with the big bang folks.
  10. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    08 Apr '08 14:06
    Originally posted by bjohnson407
    I tend to agree with those who say that we know 'how' gravity works but not 'what' it is. I don't think that physics can answer the ontological question -- what 'is' gravity -- in any truly meaningful sense. If gravity 'is' energy, then what is energy beyond 'how' it works? Is it just the mathematical equations that we have for describing 'how' it works? ...[text shortened]... en the law of gravity came into effect, then I'm with the big bang folks.
    I'd like answers to all these questions, really, but I'll take what I can get.

    I asked FabianFnas where mass comes from because as far as I can tell the answer is 'gravity' (see Ambrose Bierce quote above).

    I was reading about Newton the other day and realized that I'd thought all my life that Newton 'discovered gravity' but in fact he did no such thing (see adam warlock's post above). Hypotheses non fingo indeed.

    Well, bring it on, if you please. How does energy do what it does?
  11. 08 Apr '08 14:24
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I'd like answers to all these questions, really, but I'll take what I can get.

    I asked FabianFnas where mass comes from because as far as I can tell the answer is 'gravity' (see Ambrose Bierce quote above).

    I was reading about Newton the other day and realized that I'd thought all my life that Newton 'discovered gravity' but in fact he did no suc ...[text shortened]... non fingo indeed.

    Well, bring it on, if you please. How does energy do what it does?
    I have no answers either, but I remember a video by Carl Sagan on the subject. Nothing very thorough but interesting anyway. He started from Einstein's energy-matter equivalence E=m.c². He created the image of a rolling landscape representing the time-space universe. Bends were the equivalent of masses, with the sharpest and deepest bends representing the largest masses. A smaller mass would travel through that landscape on a path of equal energy, and follow the bends created by the larger masses, thus creating the notion of 'attraction' or gravitation. The smaller masses would create small bends along their path as they traveled, representing the mutual aspect of gravitation. Black holes would be 'pits' where a smaller mass would fall into and melt with the larger mass.
  12. Subscriber joe shmo
    Strange Egg
    08 Apr '08 14:27
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I'd like answers to all these questions, really, but I'll take what I can get.

    I asked FabianFnas where mass comes from because as far as I can tell the answer is 'gravity' (see Ambrose Bierce quote above).

    I was reading about Newton the other day and realized that I'd thought all my life that Newton 'discovered gravity' but in fact he did no suc ...[text shortened]... non fingo indeed.

    Well, bring it on, if you please. How does energy do what it does?
    an attempt to answer a question like this in a "meaningful" way is probably useless. Maybe gravity is just a great big recycling program of the universe, I dont think well ever know unless we can escape our universe before the big bang reocurrs....
  13. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    08 Apr '08 14:28
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I'd like answers to all these questions, really, but I'll take what I can get.

    I asked FabianFnas where mass comes from because as far as I can tell the answer is 'gravity' (see Ambrose Bierce quote above).

    I was reading about Newton the other day and realized that I'd thought all my life that Newton 'discovered gravity' but in fact he did no suc ...[text shortened]... non fingo indeed.

    Well, bring it on, if you please. How does energy do what it does?
    I'm pretty sure you know this but I'll say anyway

    We can't go on and on and explain what we have. At some we would be doing some kind of highly speculative metaphysics. Like this: We say that gravity is experienced/mass by anything that has a mass. Then one can ask "But why does mass causes gravity?". Well in Newton's day that answer couldn't be given unless with was a fool one. Nowadays with Einten's theory one has the metric tensor and Einstein's equations of GR and if one knows how to read the equations and interpret them there is the reason why mass causes gravity. But then of course one could ask but why these equations? And so on and so on.

    But what scientists (I'm saying scientists but I'm just really thinking about physicists) do is to define the base from what they want to erect a body of knowledge. For instance: Thermodynamics. We have the four laws of thermodynamics. They are all experimentally based. There's no theoretical reason whatsoever for them to be in the form they are. Why do heat always flow (free flow) from hot bodies to cool bodies? Couldn't coolnessflow from cool bodies to hot bodies in a free flow too. From all we know yes it could. But things don't seem to happen that way. So we take that fact as a law (I think that a better name would be axiom but these terms are always being mixed up. We have laws that are axiom and laws that are theorems ) and from then on we build up a whole theory. We do that logically and then check if the facts that theory predicts under certain conditions do happen. If it does Yepee we have an appliable theory. Not a right theory just a theory that can be used in the given limits it was thought up. If the facts don't correspond to the predictions than either we chose the wrong set of postulates to start with or we could have made some kind of logical mistake while constructing the theory. But ultimately what says if the postulates can be applied or not is a future verification of the theory. Metaphysical considerations can be discussed but in my view that is all that is to it. Discussion. One guy can give a coherent set of reasons for a given set of axioms and another guy another set of reasons equally coherent. For me this is metaphysics in the worst sense of the word.

    So what I'm trying to say is that in trying to do science we are always limited. We can't try to grab everything fom the beginning. If so we would be always trying to justify the foundantions we are using or we would be just running around in circles.

    I think you should read a lot about Newton and try to read things the man himself said. That guy is my favourite physicist. He knew a lot and he knew what the word knowledge meant.

    Another thing I remembered is that Newton gave a possible reason for the existence of gravity. He believed a lot in God but he also was very analytic. For instance he knew that he hadn't proved that solar system is stable (this means that he hadn't prove that the orbits we always be the same and we don't have planets crashing down on each other) so he reasoned that maybe gravity was the way that God kept on acting on his creation in order for it not to destroy himself.
  14. 08 Apr '08 14:32
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I've read that the origin of gravity has yet to be discovered, but I'm not so sure. Does anybody know where gravity comes from?


    GRAVITATION, n. The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportion to the quantity of matter they contain -- the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tenden ...[text shortened]... of of B, makes B the proof of A. Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), 'The Devil's Dictionary', 1911
    Are we talking about origins as in who made it up or as in how it works?

    There are various hypothesis in the how it works field related to fundamental particles but I don't think they yet have enough evidence for gravitons and gravitational waves to make it clear which hypothesis is correct.
    However, I think that all forces work in similar ways and I suspect you would find just as much absence of information if you asked the same question about electromagnetism or the strong and weak nuclear forces.

    Your definition is a bit old though. Things have changed a lot since 1911.
  15. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    08 Apr '08 14:38
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    You'd have to dumb it down quite a lot; but if you can convey complex concepts metaphorically ("it's like this, see ...", you might have a great career as a populariser of science

    Browsing around I've come across fascinating notions such that gravity spreads faster than light. It's all most fascinating.
    I don't like to dumb things down nor I like when I see people dumbing things down. I feel that that gives a false of understanding and people that listen just go on parroting things they didn't even realised they didn't understand. I do like to try and make things clear/simple. But it's like Einstein said: "Things should be made more simple not simpler" (I don't know if this is the exact quote but it is very near to this ) When I was younger I read a lot of pop-science books but then I went to Uni and learned propper physics and now I just wished I had read real stuff sooner.

    For instance if ou read Feynman you see that that guy has a real way with word. He explains very difficult concepts in such a clear cristal way that sometimes he makes wonder if I really understood the things he's talking about. I like to go to him from time to time just to humble up and freshen up. By all try to clear my ideas (might even resort to Feynman or any other guy that I like) to give a nice idea of what's going on. But I must say to you that if we have to go to the metric tensor concept things are a little bit murky for me. General relativity was something like the worst course I did on physics.

    But on the second part of your post. Can you please post some links that say that? I'm not into cosmology/gravitation/relativity but I know (or at least I thought I knew) that gravity is transmitted at the speed of light. If I'm not mistaken I think I've seen an article recentely were some guys claimed that they had measured gravity waves and they went at c just like everybody was expecting.