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Gravity and the Cheerios effect

  1. Sep 25, 2013 #1
    Please excuse my astronomical lack of knowledge on these two subjects. Pun intended. The two seem to be somewhat similar. Einsteins model of gravity describes space time as a fabric but it seemed to be easier for me to visualize if the properties of space time were more like a fluid and the spherical shape of an object in space to be more like a bubble in that fluid giving the model more of a 3 dimensional property. For me anyway it is easier to do thought experiments with. I was wondering how similar these two concepts are and is it relevant at all to look at space time as having a fluid like property that has surface tension?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Actually, modeling spacetime as a fluid works in many ways. Just remember that spacetime is not actually a fluid nor a fabric. It has no surface tension, it cannot break, etc. These are just ways to help you visualize or conceptualize it. In the end it is all in the math, which is more like geometry than anything else.
  4. Sep 25, 2013 #3
    Yes, I don't think most non-physicists realize how limiting the non-mathematical explanations that we feed them really are.
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