Gravity

Category archives for Gravity

“This scenario implies that the giant planet instability is not the source of the Late Heavy Bombardment and that terrestrial planet formation finished with the giant planets in their modern configuration.” -Nathan A. Caib & John E. Chambers It’s a common but nonetheless spectacular occurrence when our leading scientific theories — the ones with the…

“Gravitational and electromagnetic interactions are long-range interactions, meaning they act on objects no matter how far they are separated from each other.” -Francois Englert Want a recipe for seeing as far into the distant Universe as you can? Because of how distance and brightness are inversely related, you need to make the most of every…

We live in a Universe full of galaxies, supermassive black holes, and violence. The violence is particularly relevant here, because every so often, these galaxies merge, and if they each contain a supermassive black hole, the gravitational wave “ripples” that get sent through space will literally shake and affect everything that’s in them. If you…

“To me there has never been a higher source of earthly honor or distinction than that connected with advances in science.” –Isaac Newton If Newton truly meant that sentiment, perhaps he would have been happy to find out that his theory of gravitation — which stood unchallenged for over 200 years — was superseded a…

“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.” –Rod Serling Of course, despite our best theoretical hopes, we know only of four dimensions — three…

“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…