• Question: Where does gravity come from?

    Asked by Emma to Ahmed, Francesca, George, James, Nitheen on 13 Nov 2014. This question was also asked by 477susa36.
    • Photo: James Sullivan

      James Sullivan answered on 13 Nov 2014:

      gravity is a force that pulls everything in the universe together. The more mass something has the higher the force it exerts on other things.

      As to where it comes from – physicists don’t know precisely. A theory that explains gravity – and all the other forces in physics – is something that Einstein and a lot of other physicists spent a lot of time trying to find.

    • Photo: Francesca Paradisi

      Francesca Paradisi answered on 14 Nov 2014:

      I don’t think anyone knows for sure!

    • Photo: George Dowson

      George Dowson answered on 14 Nov 2014:

      This is a very tough question! I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible.

      One idea is that gravity comes from the bending of space by matter with mass. Like a bowling ball on a rubber sheet, gravity is the slope that is created by this bending of the rubber.

      How matter has this bending property (mass) is part of why the Large Hadron Collider was built in Switzerland. You may have heard about this LHC earlier in the year. This is a big atom smasher looking at making the tiny particles that give matter the property of mass that in turn makes gravity. This particle is the Higgs Boson which they think they’ve found.

      So we almost have a complete answer but we still need to work out what Einstein tried and failed, how the bending of the rubber sheet makes the gravity we know!

    • Photo: Ahmed Osman

      Ahmed Osman answered on 17 Nov 2014:

      Hi Emma,
      Thanks for the interesting question
      I think Einstein made lots of effort in this topic
      Albert Einstein explained how gravity is more than just a force: it is a curvature in the space-time continuum. That sounds like something straight out of science fiction, but simply put, the mass of an object causes the space around it to essentially bend and curve. This is often portrayed as a heavy ball sitting on a rubber sheet, and other smaller balls fall in towards the heavier object because the rubber sheet is warped from the heavy ball’s weight.

      In reality, we can’t see curvature of space directly, but we can detect it in the motions of objects. Any object ‘caught’ in another celestial body’s gravity is affected because the space it is moving through is curved toward that object. It is similar to the way a coin would spiral down one of those penny slot cyclone machines you see at tourist shops, or the way bicycles spiral around a velodrome.