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What Came First, Gravity or Mass?

  1. Oct 26, 2006 #1
    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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  3. Oct 26, 2006 #2


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    Gravity is a function of mass. You can't have one without the other. They would, therefore, have to have arisen simultaneously.
  4. Oct 26, 2006 #3
    Thank you Danger.

    Does this mean that gravity occured 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?
  5. Oct 26, 2006 #4
    Gravity , is nothing more than a bodies gravitational pull(attraction)... and any body 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.
  6. Oct 26, 2006 #5


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    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.


    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.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2006
  7. Oct 26, 2006 #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.
  8. Oct 26, 2006 #7
    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.
  9. Oct 26, 2006 #8


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    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.
  10. Oct 26, 2006 #9
    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.
  11. Oct 26, 2006 #10


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    No, that's nonsense. You're stringing together words, but there is no meaning there.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2006
  12. Oct 26, 2006 #11


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    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!
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