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What is the fabric of the universe?

  1. Jan 18, 2008 #1
    I just wanted to know what people think of the question "What is the fabric of the universe?" I only see two choices either time or space. I know that gravity is something that warps space, which means it must warp the fabric of space, or our second choice time, and I would think that any theory of gravity must at the very least contain a quantum theory of time, because imho gravity is a function of time not space. What do you think?
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  3. Jan 19, 2008 #2


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  4. Feb 16, 2008 #3
    The fabric of the universe is indeed BOTH space and time.

    We call it space-time.

    And then gravity warps space-time.
  5. Feb 17, 2008 #4
    I started this thread thinking that the fabric was either time, space, or space-time. Maybe I should have started it as a poll and listed "other" as a choice, because after thinking of my own question I would have to change my answer to light as being the fabric, with the photon as the thread and matter the ball of yarn. That would make space the loom, time the the room, and you can believe in any weaver that you want. Sorry if this seems to simple but it made me smile when I thought of it.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  6. Feb 17, 2008 #5


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    The best discussion of this issue----where we are at present on it-----that I know of is in the survey paper by Renate Loll called
    Quantum Gravity on your Desktop

    time and space are largescale perceptions that emerge from some more fundamental processes at microscopic level. Because of Heisenberg Uncertainty, the smaller scale you look the more chaotic spacetime geometry is likely to be. It may not even have a well defined dimensionality down near or below planck scale. Concepts like length area volume angle may be infected with indeterminacy just as in ordinary quantum mechanics the position and momentum of a particle are not completely determined.

    Smooth space and regular time may be illusions which appear at a macroscopic scale, emerging from a microscopic reality which is not so smooth and regular.

    Quantum gravity teaches us to expect this. Wheeler (a great physicist of the last century) used to refer to the "spacetime foam".

    Among presentday researchers, I think Loll's group is as advanced as any. They are not saying what is there but they are running some pretty good simulations of small universes. have some pretty reasonable conjectures.

    Google "renate loll" and see if you can find that recent article at her website.
  7. Aug 28, 2011 #6
    gravity is an extra dimension, above time and the three dimensions of space
  8. Aug 28, 2011 #7
    No time is an extra dimension, not gravity. Gravity is a force or field, and is not a dimension.
  9. Aug 29, 2011 #8
    If gravity were to be a dimension then wouldn't we experience fluctuation of gravity in different reference frames?!
  10. Aug 29, 2011 #9
    Yes. We could go on and on on why gravity is not a dimension.
  11. Aug 30, 2011 #10
    Gravity makes a good fabric for the universe without it we would never have found evidence of black holes, you've got to love general relativity.
  12. Aug 30, 2011 #11


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    I don't think gravity can be considered the "fabric" of the universe. More like the fat lady sitting on the fabric having a picnic.
  13. Aug 30, 2011 #12
    Hah, that made me laugh quite hard. Well, it doesn't have to be a fat lady, basically its anything sitting on the fabric, of any size. But I understand what you meant by that post.
  14. Aug 30, 2011 #13


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    Cite some references. I totally disagree.
  15. Jan 9, 2012 #14
    Gravity is much better described as a force upon said "fabric" rather than a constituent of the "fabric" itself. Gravity has an effect upon space-time which would explain why gravity has been shown to travel in excess of light-speed. just as a pull on a non-stretchable object wrapped around the equator would show instantaneous movement on both ends. Gravitational propagation would occur as a dependency of the amount of "Stretch" present in space-time itself.
  16. Jan 9, 2012 #15


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    Gravity does not travel FTL. It propagates at c. An object wrapped around the equator, when pulled, would react at the speed that sound propagates through the material.
  17. Jan 11, 2012 #16
    Interesting this Chronos. Gravity must have propogated through all of spacetime. Could geometry or curvature be the fabric of reality, that seems reasonable to me, everything is anchored geometrically to the Universe. Curvature is king! :)

    Not a personal theory just an idea.

    Has made me think though, geometry and therefore gravity and curvature are present everywhere, even if curvature is 0 it can still be explained mathematically.

    All really interesting. :smile:
  18. Jan 11, 2012 #17


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    Both of the bolded statements are nonsense, as Drakkith has already pointed out (although more politely than me). You really should read up on basic physics before you make such pronouncements on a physics forum.
  19. Jan 11, 2012 #18


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    Depends on what you mean by "Fabric of reality".
  20. Jan 11, 2012 #19


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    Is it just my concept of semantics, or would we, as I believe, all be better off if no one EVERY used the term "fabric" in conjunction with spacetime, but rather used "structure" or some similar concept. "Fabric" carries over unfortunate connotations from standard English.
  21. Jan 11, 2012 #20


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    Agreed phinds.
  22. Jan 11, 2012 #21
    When I read about space-time and gravity, the idea I get is that gravity isn't really a "force" when you look at it from the perspective of space-time. It's just an apparent attractive force between two objects of mass. Objects of mass distort the shape of space-time and this distortion causes us to feel the apparent force of gravity.

    That's why I'd say that space-time is the "fabric" of reality, because we are sort of sitting in it and "rolling" around in it like the marbles in the bowl with the orange at the bottom.
  23. Jan 12, 2012 #22
    Yes I think you are right - just wanted to keep in line with the OP. When I say fabric I mean underlying structure which I think does not carry so many obvious connotations.

    So to rephrase, IMO geometry is the underlying structure of the Universe - geometry exists in absolute vacuum, so the vacuum requires geometry, it exists in mass and around mass, geometry even exists in Black Holes (at least in terms of extreme curvature.) All a bit mind bending and also kind of philosophical in quantifying these things. Anyway I am musing now with little positive results so I will cease!
  24. Jan 20, 2012 #23
    Once you hit or run through the surface of Outer space, a thing thats never been touched before, doesnt itconsistantly change what it has been doing so far?It sure would explain the speedy satellite thing.......And i agree with Marcus, i think the universe is made up of a bunch of Big peices of Matter, not some small micromollecular material..
    Itsonly gonna be enough for us to handle if we can step up and callit ours..Ω
  25. Jan 20, 2012 #24
    Do any of you believe in a place outside of the Fabrics of space?
    Light,Matter,more or less space,Another universe,another'Galaxy' past the darkness of the Vaccum,so tospeak?
    Obviously its to say we would truly be able to take or universe and stick in under a microscope,but come on, give me some Real ideas, i want to explore This,blindly
    Today right now, some of you guys gotta think,What is your part in all this
    Because its not even what the answers are that matters,it just that we know they could very well exist.We haven't just been obsessing for Eons..Only a few century's,enough for this Species to coincide on what we reallly believe in??
    Call me the physics Hippie;)
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  26. Jan 20, 2012 #25


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    I'm sorry, I can't understand what you are saying or asking here. It doesn't seem to follow any of the normal terminology of physics.

    What is the "Darkness of the Vacuum"?

    What? I can't understand anything about what you're trying to get across.
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