Gravity

Category archives for Gravity

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” -Albert Einstein Back when Einstein first proposed his theory of General Relativity, his revolutionary picture of the Universe was met with a mix of curiosity, awe, and intense skepticism. It isn’t every day that your most cherished of all physical theories — the…

“As seismologists gained more experience from earthquake records, it became obvious that the problem could not be reduced to a single peak acceleration. In fact, a full frequency of vibrations occurs.” -Charles Francis Richter You’ve all been around long enough to be familiar with the severe damage that earthquakes can cause, rattling and cracking the…

Putting Einstein to the Test

“The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will…

“Despite its name, the big bang theory is not really a theory of a bang at all. It is really only a theory of the aftermath of a bang.” -Alan Guth So you finally understand it. The Big Bang tells us that the Universe was hotter, denser, and expanding at a faster rate in the…

What Matters about Dark Matter?

“A cosmic mystery of immense proportions, once seemingly on the verge of solution, has deepened and left astronomers and astrophysicists more baffled than ever. The crux… is that the vast majority of the mass of the universe seems to be missing.” -William J. Broad Three classic observations — the Hubble expansion of the Universe, the…

How Big is Our Observable Universe?

“The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes When General Relativity supplanted Newton’s work as our theory of how gravity works in the Universe, it didn’t just change how we view how masses attract, it gave us a new understanding of what the questions where…

The Physics of a Bottomless Pit

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.” -Edna St. Vincent Millay I’m sure you’ve thought about it before: what would happen if you dropped something into a bottomless pit? No, not one of those fake bottomless…

For the love of science

“When I say, ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand…

The Universe Just Keeps Trying to Kill Us

“Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.” -Roger Zelazny It’s always the ones you least expect that get you the worst, it seems. I went to bed last night excited that Asteroid 2012 DA14, a 200,000 ton asteroid, was going to pass within just 28,000 km (or…

How can we see black holes?

“According to the special theory of relativity nothing can travel faster than light, so that if light cannot escape, nothing else can either. The result would be a black hole: a region of space-time from which it is not possible to escape to infinity.” -Stephen Hawking You may have encountered objects that are the same…