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

Gravity - Force or Effect?

  1. Jun 26, 2011 #1
    While letting the TV series, 'Through the Wormhole', drone on in the background today, I was reminded of a puzzlement that's been itching in the back of my head for decades.

    Through the Wormhole is light on details, but a smorgasbord of interesting concepts, many of which involve gravity. Nearly all physicists and cosmologists refer to gravity as either a force or field. I always thought it was an effect.

    Didn't Einstein define gravity as an effect caused by mass warping space-time? So would not the search for gravitons, or the gravitational field, be as futile as looking for the little gray particles that makeup a shadow?

    Was Einstein wrong, or have I misunderstood him all these years?

    .
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2011 #2

    bcrowell

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Every other interaction, such as electromagnetism, is known to be both a field (wave) and a particle. GR is a field theory, with the field being interpreted as curvature of spacetime. (It's different from the 9.8 m/s2 gravitational field of Newtonian mechanics, though.) There are fundamental reasons why you can't get a consistent theory by coupling a classical field (with no quantum-mechanical particle properties) to a quantum mechanical field (with particle properties).
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Gravity - Force or Effect?
  1. Gravity's effects (Replies: 52)

Loading...