"Newton's space is the gravitational field"?

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• mieral
In summary, Rovelli's book discusses how classical space is replaced by a quantum space where distance is determined by the number of bubbles between two points. This change in geometry leads to General Relativity and gravity.
mieral
I just read Carlo Rovelli new book "Reality is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity" in one sitting and quoting the relevant passage:

"The world is not made up of space + particles + electromagnetic field + gravitational field. The world is made up of particles + fields, and nothing else; there is no need to add space as an extra ingredient. Newton's space is the gravitational field. Or vice versa, which amounts to saying the same thing: the gravitational field is space"

Is the phrase "Newton's space is the gravitational field" correct if one will repeat it in articles?

I've always read that Newtonian Gravitation existed within spacetime, much like how objects and other fields exist within spacetime. This is unlike in General Relativity where gravitation is not separate from spacetime.

I think Rovelli was talking about space existing in the classical way. As I understood it he was saying that at the smallest scale distance needs to be treated as a quantum measurement in a similar way to energy, with a 'smallest possible' distance existing. He describes space as like a quantum foam where distance is effectively defined by the number of 'bubbles' between two points. The geometry is constantly changing at any point so actual 'distances' are calculated in a statistical manner. A higher density (as measured in classical space) of matter or energy would lead to an increased density of 'bubbles' effectively increasing the distance measured between two points. This then becomes the cause of the 'bending' of space in General Relativity and is what leads to gravity.

To say that Newtons space is the gravitational field would be missing a key point. The change in measured distance within Newtons space is what leads to gravity, not the space itself.

It is worth noting that Rovelli stresses that this is an emerging science and many of the conclusions are still highly speculative. That said, it was a good read and the broad sweep of ideas fits very well with my world view.

It sounds like a pop sci book. Please recognize that pop sci books are meant for entertainment rather than education.

What is Newton's space?

Newton's space refers to the concept of space as described by Sir Isaac Newton in his laws of motion. It is a three-dimensional, infinite and unchanging space in which all objects exist and interact.

What is the gravitational field?

The gravitational field is a region of space surrounding an object with mass, in which other objects with mass experience a force of attraction. This force is known as gravity and is described by Newton's law of universal gravitation.

How does Newton's space relate to the gravitational field?

In Newton's theory, the gravitational field is a property of space itself. The presence of massive objects in space creates a curvature of space, which in turn affects the motion of other objects in that space. This is the basis of his theory of gravity.

What evidence supports the concept of Newton's space as the gravitational field?

One of the key pieces of evidence for Newton's theory is the observed motion of planets and other celestial bodies in our solar system. The laws of motion and gravity described by Newton accurately predict the orbits and movements of these objects.

How does Newton's space differ from Einstein's concept of space-time?

Newton's space is a three-dimensional, static space, while Einstein's concept of space-time is a four-dimensional, dynamic space in which time is also a factor. Einstein's theory of general relativity expands upon Newton's laws and provides a more accurate description of the gravitational field.

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