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

When do the laws of general relativity breakdown?

  1. Nov 6, 2009 #1
    Ok, firstly I just want to say I have a layman's interest in physics. But from my limited understanding physicists use the theory of general relativity to understand big things like stars and galaxies and use quantum mechanics to understand the very small things like atoms and sub-atomic particles. My question is when does general relativity breakdown and quantum mechanics take over? Is there some critical size or point this happens? Or is it a gradual progression? I hope these questions make sense :).
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2009 #2

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    We don't know yet. As far as I know, there is as yet no experimental data on gravitation that unambiguously shows a breakdown of GR.
     
  4. Nov 6, 2009 #3

    mathman

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Inside a black hole these theories are in conflict. This implies that there is a breakdown in one or the other or both.
     
  5. Nov 6, 2009 #4
    I always thought it was when you approach the sub-atomic level.
     
  6. Nov 7, 2009 #5

    mathman

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There is no contradiction under ordinary (outside of black holes) conditions, such as in any earth lab.
     
  7. Nov 7, 2009 #6
    I recently asked a similar question on this forum. Relativity is responsible for a lot of interesting effects such as the color of gold and the liquid state of mercury. If you go back a page or two you should be able to find my thread; there are some pretty interesting responses and links.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook