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Is gravity a bigger mystery than charge?

  1. Mar 27, 2011 #1
    Dear Friends,

    I am presently studying physics on my own. (Not for a degree but just out of curiosity)

    My question is, both gravity and charge being fundamental forces, is science more comfortable in explaining one of them compared to other?

    I see some threads here wondering what exactly the mechanism of gravity is. I too wonder about that.

    But I did not see any one asking the same about electric charge. Does it mean that science has a better understanding about the mechanism of charge?

    To me, both are equally mysterious.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    We have physical objects which are the source of the electric charges, and we know that all mass has gravity, but I would say that gravity is a little more mysterious than charge is.
  4. Mar 27, 2011 #3


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    Electromagnetic force is mediated by photons. The theory (quantum electrodynamics) has been thoroughly worked out.

    Gravity on the other hand is a classical theory, using General Relativity. There is a general belief that it should be a quantum theory, with gravitons as the mediator, but so far gravitons have not been detected.
  5. Mar 27, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    The fact that you see more threads about the nature of gravity means more people find gravity mysterious, but it doesn't necessarily mean that to the scientific community gravity is the more problematic.
  6. Mar 27, 2011 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    The reason that gravity might be considered "more mysterious" is that the gravitational coupling constant is so much lower than the fine structure constant, so it is harder to investigate experimentally.
  7. Mar 30, 2011 #6
    Electromagnetic theory makes certain assumptions about the cause just as gravitational fields are useful for visualizing - but like gravity. the measured forces are not directly calcuted from any model - only the coeficiants of the underlying Dyson equation of real 0
  8. Mar 30, 2011 #7


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    The classical theory of gravity (GR) is non-linear, while the classical theory of E&M (Maxwell's equations) is linear, so there's that added complication for gravity...
  9. Apr 7, 2011 #8
    Thank you all for the valuable replies.
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