Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does gravity turn time into space?

  1. Mar 11, 2014 #1
    I am preparing a simple demonstration of gravity for a lay audience, inspired by this applet and the well-known book Relativity Visualized. These resources suggest that for a free-falling object, the curvature of spacetime "converts" some of the object's travel through time into travel through space. That seems to be the case: As the object accelerates due to gravity, we fixed observers see its clock slow down (neglecting GR time dilation caused by the object approaching the gravitational mass).

    In my presentation, to explain why a released object goes from "stationary" to falling, I'd like to say something to that effect (with graphics similar to the above applet): that when spacetime is curved, a free-falling object's ordinary travel through time spontaneously begins to transform into travel through space as well.

    Is the statement reasonably accurate? Mind you, I am merely trying to create a qualitative "aha!" moment, not a rigorous explanation. Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    For the stated purposes I would say your explanation is perfectly fine. The rigorous explanation simply takes what you said and puts it on mathematical grounds anyways.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook