What Came First, Gravity or Mass?

In summary, the question of whether gravity or mass came first is nonsensical as they are interdependent concepts. However, according to Newton's Principia and current usage, mass was mentioned earlier and is considered the "quantity of material." It is also argued that energy existed before mass and therefore, gravity existed before mass as well. There is still ongoing debate on how to best define mass.
  • #1
nannoh
202
0
What came first, gravity or mass? This may be too esoteric to discuss in General Physics. (If so, moving it to philosophy or deleting it all together is ok with me) but I wonder if there is a theory or theorist who attempts to answer the question.
 
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  • #2
Gravity is a function of mass. You can't have one without the other. They would, therefore, have to have arisen simultaneously.
 
  • #3
Danger said:
Gravity is a function of mass. You can't have one without the other. They would, therefore, have to have arisen simultaneously.

Thank you Danger.

Does this mean that gravity occurred at the same time as mass began to take place and not that gravity allowed mass to take place. What actually made mass happen then, in the first place? + Is mass the distant cousin of relative or rest mass?
 
  • #4
Gravity , is nothing more than a bodies gravitational pull(attraction)... and anybody which possesses mass will have some sort of Gravitational Influence around it under which the other bodies move...so both complement each other ... Gravity moves a mass , mass produces a pull.
 
  • #5
Mass was mentioned very early in Newton's principia - its defintion as "the quantity of material" was one of the first lines in Newton's Principia.

http://books.google.com/books?vid=I...x+jammer+mass&sig=rvmUlL1YxTTmzI_MxSEwoJB7fzo

Logically, I don't see how it could be any other way. You need enough mechanics to know what a force is before you can say that gravity is a force.

Note that the issue of how to best define mass is still ongoing - as a practical matter I would say that by current usage mass is an "umbrella-like" concept, sheltering many different and closely related ideas.
 
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  • #6
If I am understanding a recent SA article, it took a couple of microseconds after the big bang for gravity to come about becasue it took that long for gravitons/Higgs Bosons to come about. Once the LHC is ready to go, we might have a better answer to this question.
 
  • #7
pervect said:
Mass was mentioned very early in Newton's principia

Physically, the original question is nonsensical, so indeed I suppose the answer be in terms of the human concepts...

So I'd say mass came first (since the first hunter to try carrying home a buffalo would of discoverd the incontravertably heavy weight and difficulty in shifting it without buffalo-strength), and gravity much later (what with birds flaunting it all the time), and only these last few centuries are we properly exploring the connections between the two concepts.
 
  • #8
It has been my understanding that gravity is the cuvature of spacetime in the presence of mass AND energy. Therefore, I wouldst argue that gravity existed simultaneously with energy, which is mass is in its alternative form; and since energy predates mass, I think, then gravity came before mass, just as the egg came before the chicken.
 
  • #9
cesiumfrog said:
Physically, the original question is nonsensical, so indeed I suppose the answer be in terms of the human concepts...

So I'd say mass came first (since the first hunter to try carrying home a buffalo would of discoverd the incontravertably heavy weight and difficulty in shifting it without buffalo-strength), and gravity much later (what with birds flaunting it all the time), and only these last few centuries are we properly exploring the connections between the two concepts.

I'm trying to determine the sequence of events with my question. (Did the emergence of matter cause the emergence of gravity or was it the other way around?) So far it looks like matter (and mass) were the progenitors to gravity.

It would seem to me that with the first "iota" of matter came the first "iota" of gravity. With that, a snowball effect took place where matter, mass and gravity became common place in the physical universe.
 
  • #10
No, that's nonsense. You're stringing together words, but there is no meaning there.
 
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  • #11
nannoh said:
I'm trying to determine the sequence of events with my question. (Did the emergence of matter cause the emergence of gravity or was it the other way around?) So far it looks like matter (and mass) were the progenitors to gravity.

It would seem to me that with the first "iota" of matter came the first "iota" of gravity. With that, a snowball effect took place where matter, mass and gravity became common place in the physical universe.
That is incorrect. The first iota of gravity came with the first iota of energy, not matter. Heck, even light is affected by gravity, and light has no mass!
 

Related to What Came First, Gravity or Mass?

1. What is the relationship between gravity and mass?

The relationship between gravity and mass is that gravity is the force that attracts objects with mass towards each other. The more mass an object has, the greater its gravitational pull will be.

2. Which came first, gravity or mass?

This question is a bit of a philosophical one, as both gravity and mass have existed since the beginning of the universe. However, scientists believe that mass came first, as it is a fundamental property of matter, while gravity is a force that is created by the presence of mass.

3. How does mass affect gravity?

Mass directly affects gravity in that the more mass an object has, the stronger its gravitational pull will be. This is why larger objects, such as planets and stars, have a stronger gravitational force compared to smaller objects.

4. Can gravity exist without mass?

No, gravity cannot exist without mass. As mentioned before, gravity is a force that is created by the presence of mass. Without mass, there would be nothing to create the force of gravity.

5. How do we know that mass came before gravity?

Scientists have studied the origins of the universe and have found evidence of mass existing before the force of gravity. This is also supported by the fact that mass is a fundamental property of matter, while gravity is a force that is created by the presence of mass.

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