1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Gravity and the Cherrios Effect

  1. Jul 13, 2012 #1
    Is the warping of the fabric of space by masses, similar to the warping of the milk surface, that pulls those last few Cheerios together.:biggrin:


  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The way Cheerios are attracted in a bowl of milk is actually a lot closer to how electromagnetic attraction/repulsion works. You can draw some parallels with gravity, and indeed, gravity works like a purely attractive version of electromagnetism to first order. But once you get into details, there are quite a few places where the analogy starts to break-down. Most importantly, gravity is related to curvature in space and time. Cheerios start to pull together even if they are static. There is a force pulling on them. Gravity requires motion. Granted, objects are moving mostly through time in all practical situations, but you still can't look it as just an attractive force. The objects don't actually experience a force, but rather continue in what appears to them to be a "straight line", called a geodesic.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook