Gravity

Category archives for Gravity

“The slow philosophy is not about doing everything in tortoise mode. It’s less about the speed and more about investing the right amount of time and attention in the problem so you solve it.” –Carl Honore If you wanted to know how fast you were moving through space, you’d need to measure it all: the…

Gravity’s Oldest Puzzles (Synopsis)

Every time you follow the motion of a spacecraft, moon, planet or other object through the Solar System, you’re putting the theory of gravity to the test. On one hand, there’s a robust set of predictions for what the behavioral motion of these bodies ought to be, while on the other there’s what we actually observe.…

“First, you should check out my house. It’s, like, kinda lame, but way less lame than, like, your house.” –Lumpy Space Princess, Adventure Time When you visualize our Universe today, you probably think about the great clumps of matter — planets, stars, galaxies and clusters — separated by huge distances. But on the largest of…

There’s something puzzling about black holes, if you stop to consider it. On the one hand, they’re objects so massive and dense — compacted into such a small region of space — that nothing can escape from it, not even light. That’s the definition of a black hole, and why “black” is in the name.…

If we want to understand the Universe at a fundamental level — all the forces on all scales — the biggest obstacle facing us is to come up with a correct, consistent, testable and verifiable theory of quantum gravity. To no one’s great surprise, we’re not quite there yet. In 2001, Lee Smolin — one…

“I just think too many nice things have happened in string theory for it to be all wrong. Humans do not understand it very well, but I just don’t believe there is a big cosmic conspiracy that created this incredible thing that has nothing to do with the real world.” –Edward Witten It’s a difficult…

Pluto’s Unique Moons! (Synopsis)

“Movin’ right along. You take it, you know best. Hey, I’ve never seen the Sun come up in the West?” –The Muppet Movie Few things in this world are as regular as sunrise and sunset. With the application of a little physics, you can predict exactly where and when the sun will rise or set from…

“Oh leave the Wise our measures to collate. One thing at least is certain, light has weight. One thing is certain and the rest debate. Light rays, when near the Sun, do not go straight.” –Arthur Eddington While we know full well today that Newtonian gravity is just an approximation to a more correct theory…

“[I]f there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” –C.S. Lewis The Universe had two periods where light was abundant, separated by the cosmic dark ages. The first came at the moment of the hot Big Bang, as…

“Journalists often ask me when I go to the field, ‘What do you expect to find?’ And my answer always is, ‘The unexpected,’ because we’re just looking at the tip of the iceberg; we’ve just scratched the surface.” –Donald Johanson Imagine you wanted to know what your acceleration was anywhere on Earth; imagine that simply…