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Gravity - relationship with Electromagnetism?

  1. Aug 15, 2012 #1
    Gravity -- relationship with Electromagnetism?

    Hi all my interest in Physics is purely a hobby and I have to say I have gaps in my knowledge but even then I have a question is it possible that the wave and particle nature of electromagnetic waves and small particles are related to gravity meaning if we don't have gravity we wont have the wave nature of these particle. Gravity curves space maybe it does more then just that maybe it puts a speed limit on the universe that nothing can go faster the the speed of light and causes electromagnetic waves and small particles have both wave and particle properties. Please educate me.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2012
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  3. Aug 15, 2012 #2


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    Re: Gravity

    Welcome to PhysicsForums, azawah!

    The short answer is NO. We have a theory of electromagnetism which posits one thing, and a theory of gravity which posits something else. In their respective domains of applicability, they are excellent at predicting the results of specific situations.

    The more complicated answer is that it is *possible* that both are part of an even more comprehensive theory. But even in that case, you would not be able to state that gravity causes wave/particle behavior any more than wave/particle behavior causes gravity.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2012
  4. Aug 15, 2012 #3
    Re: Gravity

    Hi azawah,
    [sorry, This post got way too long...but with luck I'll have explained, oops!! wrong word.....discussed some things of interest..]

    Two general points:

    The single most importanent thing gravity does is to draw mass and energy together...to form stars, planets and eventually,....us. If it did not we would not be here; sure they are many other essentials, but those are key.

    Second, no one knows what space is, let alone curved spacetime [gravity], any more than they know what time is or mass, energy, gravity,etc,etc. For most part, we can describe the observational effects of all these but not the fundamental origin nor "what is...made of?" what we usually discuss is 'How does THAT behave...' One thing we do think we know : 'space' or, 'spacetime' if you prefer, is NOT 'empty'...

    Here are brief quotes from another discussion on particles [think, 'mass' if you like] to illustrate some of the subtlies underlying gravity and particles:

    One comment was made:
    [This post refers to 'fields' which have never been directly observed; they are aspects of mathematical models and are pervasive in phsics..because they work. Are fields real or just imaginary descriptions, like lines of lat and long we place on a map??

    Referring to the above quote:

    [So here we were discussing the ambiguity of gravitational spacetime curvature [gravity] with respect to particles. My quote above is actually from a Carlo Rovelli research paper we were likely discussing.]

    What this gets at is that local particle states correspond to the 'real' objects observed by finite size detectors. On the other hand, global particle states can be defined only under certain limited conditions. With gravity, global distances and times [in curved spacetimes] are indeterminate as well...they are not typically subject to precise definition. And, this is really crazy, we cannot ascribe precise energies to a local gravitational field. So one smart poster here says:

    Take 'matter' here as 'particle' if you like.

    Want to know three ways to 'create real particles' from 'nothing'?? that is, be able to measure something locally via an appropriate detector that was 'not there' before: accelerate, accelerate spacetime [via expanding horizons as in our universe], accelerate a cosmological horizon.

    [If this seems interesting try reading 'Unruh effect' in Wikipedia....you will be amazed!! I know I still am.

    What to make of all this?? It goes back to the 'complicated' answer of Dr Chinese above. We have a lot more to learn before we have a 'comprehensive theory'!! How do all the pieces fit together??
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  5. Aug 15, 2012 #4
    Re: Gravity -- relationship with Electromagnetism?

    Gravity Relationship with electromagnetism:

    It should be noted one relationship which we know about and was confirmed after Einstein's general relativity: Light [which is an electromagnetic wave, or photons as quanta if you like], IS curved by gravity. This was not known nor understood for sure before an eclipse confirmed gravitational lensing [curving] of light as it passes the sun, a prediction of Einstein.

    Another relationship between the two is that we know about is that light gains energy when moving to a higher [less negative] gravitational potential and loses energy the other way.
    It gives up potential energy to gain kinetic energy. This is referred to a 'redshift' and blue shift respectively....but the speed of light, locally, remains 'c'...it is it's color [frequency] that changes.

    We also know that during cosmological expansion, as is experienced in our universe, electromagnetic waves [the cosmic microwave background] gets redshifted...is weakened, that is cooled...so this relic radiation from 13.7B years ago has cooled from roughly 3,000 degrees K to about 2.7 degrees as it heads toward absolute zero.
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