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Just wondering what the latest descriptions of space were.

  1. Jun 29, 2012 #1
    Just wondering what the latest descriptions of space were. How would you say modern day physics describes it? Does it move or flow? Is it more like a fabric or Matrix? If it moves does it just stretch and bend. I realize no one knows for sure but wanted to know what you guys here at P.F. think are the best definitions of space are or even the worst.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2012 #2

    Drakkith

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    Re: Space

    Space. That which we put our coordinate systems in.
     
  4. Jun 29, 2012 #3

    phinds

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    Re: Space

    Space is best thought of a one part of spacetime. The term "fabric" is widely used but should be avoided as it leads to silly misconceptions.
     
  5. Jun 29, 2012 #4
  6. Jun 30, 2012 #5
    Re: Space

    Are there no better descriptions of space? Are there any new ideas at all? A hundred years ago there seemed to be much more discussion and books about space and gravity. I lived my whole life thinking these things had been answered only to find out no one really had a clue. I find this more exciting than disappointing but was wondering why there are no new hypothesis being offered.
     
  7. Jun 30, 2012 #6

    phinds

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    Re: Space

    Yeah, it's both exciting and frustrating that we don't have a better understanding than we do of a lot of things.

    I like Roger Penrose's (I think it was) definition of space and time: Time is what keeps everthing from happening all at once and space it what keeps if from all happening to me.
     
  8. Jun 30, 2012 #7

    Drakkith

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    Re: Space

    Space is considered to be part of spacetime in accordance with the theory of General Relativity, which has to date been verified by every experiment designed to test it. We simply haven't gotten any new hypothesis that explain it better than GR does.
     
  9. Jun 30, 2012 #8
    Re: Space

    I'm just surprised that science has accepted answers like these for so long. How does anyone know what spacetime is if they don't know what space is? And in what way does GR explain it? In either case none of the questions in post #1 are answered.
     
  10. Jul 1, 2012 #9

    Drakkith

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    Re: Space

    From wikipedia: Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction.[1] Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum known as spacetime. In mathematics,"spaces" are examined with different numbers of dimensions and with different underlying structures. The concept of space is considered to be of fundamental importance to an understanding of the physical universe. However, disagreement continues between philosophers over whether it is itself an entity, a relationship between entities, or part of a conceptual framework.

    There is no consensus as to what space is. General Relativity describes gravity as the result of the geometry of spacetime itself. By that I mean that if we track the movement of an object, such as a test particle, through spacetime from one point to another it will behave as though spacetime has certain geometric features, such as being curved in certain ways. Note that we CANNOT observe "space itself", only how objects interact within space. Space is not a "fabric", it does not stretch, bend, move, or flow as far as I understand it.
     
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