Category: Science

Last night I finished a great book called Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku, a leading theoretical physicist.  As I was trying to get to sleep I was thinking about the relationship of space, time and gravity and came to some interesting conclusions.  This is my very infant theory of gravity’s relationship to space-time.

Picture a swimming pool full of water.  If you blew a bubble in the water you displace a very small amount of water with air, giving the water more potential energy.  On earth, since we have gravity, it is easy for the water to get back to its lower state of energy by pushing the bubble up to the surface since the air is less dense than the water, and the water gets more dense as you get closer to the bottom.  In space, if the water was constrained so it could not expand, the water would still want to push the bubble out, but there is no obvious direction for it to go since the density of water is fairly consistent.  Now, if space-time is like this water in space, its constraints are the edges of space and time, beyond which there is nothing (even if there was something we could not detect it because it would not follow our laws of physics).  Each subatomic particle with mass would be surrounded by a bubble in this water.  The bubble is the sphere of influence that it has on space-time, so matter itself is displacing space-time.  As a result of this displacement, space time “pushes back” at the particle resulting in gravity.  If you push matter together until it is very dense it will eventually fuse, creating other element(s).  If you keep forcing it with more and more energy, eventually, the subatomic particle’s spheres of influence (the bubbles) would touch and combine into one.  On a very small scale, this would result in a microscopic black hole, but since space-time is not pushing back very hard on this structure, it is unstable and it disintegrates back into its constituent particles.  On a large scale, there would be trillions and trillions of these particles, and they would create a very large sphere of influence.  In fact, we already have a name for this – it’s called the event horizon of a black hole.

If you assume this conceptual view of gravity is correct, then you can draw some pretty interesting conclusions.

  1. Gravity is a measurement of the potential energy of space-time that has been displaced by a mass.
  2. We cannot see inside a subatomic particle since space and time don’t exist or are so distorted that they would result in chaotic observations.
  3. When matter is in motion, it leaves a “wake” of space-time behind it as it is restored to an equilibrium.  This wake is visible in a particle accelerator – when particles feel their wake of their own gravity and are pulled into a tight circle.
  4. Perhaps the displacement of space-time itself is what is pushing the universe out in all directions (but it appears to be accelerating which would not  coincide).

I will continue to think about this concept and figure out what is logical and what is illogical.  Ideally someone in this world can integrate this “symptom of gravity” into the existing theories and put this whole gravity mystery to bed!

If you have an opinion about this concept, please comment on it!  I am not a theoretically physicist so I may just be way off in left field!

I have often wondered why it’s not possible to go faster than the speed of light. My reasoning has been “well, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity (E=MC^2), you would require an infinite amount of energy to increase your speed by an infinitely small amount.” Until lately I have been been satisfied by this response, but I’ve always been stumped by this apparent paradox: Imagine you are in the back of a train going 1 MPH less than the speed of light. Now you get up and run to the front of the train at 8 MPH, would you not be going 7 MPH faster than the speed of light?. The answer is no, and here’s why. When you start moving forward you are perceiving yourself as moving normally, but in fact this is far from the truth. The closer you get to the speed of light, the slower time is.  What this means to you on the train is that you feel like you are going the 8 MPH because you are also perceiving time more slowly than normally.  If you were timing yourself with a watch, you would indeed get to the front of the train in the 10 seconds or so that you thought it took; however, if I were stopped on the outside of the train looking in, it would appear to me that you took many hours — maybe even days to run across the train.  What this means is that it actually took you a very long time to travel the distance of the train, let’s say 50 feet in 24 hours.  This speed is added to the speed of the train, but it’s far less than the 8 MPH you thought you were travelling at.  What if you shoot a bullet towards the front of the train?  It doesn’t matter what you do, the faster you go, the slower time goes.  If you managed to get to the speed of light, time would stop completely, so you would not actually be moving.