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

Physical interpretation of spacetime curvature?

  1. Oct 23, 2008 #1

    I'm in the process of trying to understand spacetime curvature in general relativity. My question might sound odd, but I'm wondering how to best conceptualize spacetime distortions due to a moving mass. If there is a large mass, e.g. a planet, moving through spacetime, the curvature will change. Does spacetime 'stretch' with the change in curvature? Or does it 'grow', i.e. is there somehow an increase in the 'amount' of spacetime in one region as the mass moves, and a corresponding contraction in region the mass previous occupied? (if that makes any sense) Or am I completely off track?

    Thanks all.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2008 #2
    divergence is best visualized as stretching. curl as twisting. if you are asking what 'really' happens to space then I cant help you.
  4. Oct 23, 2008 #3
    You can also try visualizing the structure of space as Penrose spin networks...think of a geodesic (dome) shape with volumes represented by integer value at nodes, surface areas by integer values along links....an integer represents a Planck length...they change an integer at a time and shapes change/deform/transition in discrete steps...according to mass, energy and pressure....all of which curve space....
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Physical interpretation of spacetime curvature?
  1. Spacetime curvature (Replies: 13)

  2. Curvature of Spacetime (Replies: 4)

  3. Spacetime curvature (Replies: 47)

  4. Curvature of Spacetime? (Replies: 40)