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Gravitation as curvature of space vs field theory

  1. Jul 5, 2013 #1
    Gravitation is described on one hand as curvature of space in the presence of matter.
    It is also described as a field acting through gravitons on matter. How can the two views be reconciled?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2013 #2


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    Science Advisor

    The gravitational field is not described as being composed of gravitons in any mainstream physical theory at present.

    In the spirit of Weinberg, it might also be worth considering the viewpoint that the geometric aspects of general relativity are not to be taken especially literally -- it is a mathematical theory that describes the gravitational interaction in a language that happens to be geometric. In the same vein, electromagnetism can also be understood as a geometric theory (where the vector potential arises as a quantity associated with the geometry of the internal U(1) group space), but that doesn't stop us from also associating the vector potential with photons in field theory.
  4. Jul 5, 2013 #3


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    Through an (as yet undiscovered) quantum theory of gravity. You'll find a number of threads in the relativity and quantum mechanics sections - for example https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=689165
  5. Jul 5, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Compare to this question: Electromagnetism is described on one hand in terms of classical electric and magnetic fields. It is also described as a (quantum) field acting through (virtual and real) photons on matter. How can the two views be reconciled?
  6. Jul 5, 2013 #5
    Gravity viewed as curvature of spacetime is general relaivity; unlike the other 'forces',
    gravity is not part of the Standard Model of particle physics.

    Gravity in general relativity is curved spacetime; In quantum mechanics particles are the carriers for the electromagnetic, strong and weak forces....so the hypothetical idea of a particle for gravity is called the gravitron. It's never been detected, maybe because it is so weak. But gravity seems especially unique: it curves spacetime.


    general relativity

  7. Jul 5, 2013 #6
    thanks to all, I will have to "digest" this.
  8. Jul 5, 2013 #7
    Don't forget the salt
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