Our Ignorance About Gravity | Summary and Q&A

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June 20, 2019
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minutephysics
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Our Ignorance About Gravity

TL;DR

Newton's Law of Gravitation is not applicable in extreme scenarios, and its accuracy diminishes as the distance between objects decreases.

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Key Insights

  • 💪 Newton's Law of Gravitation is not universally applicable, with inaccuracies observed in scenarios with strong gravitational forces.
  • 🥹 Our understanding of gravity is limited at weak gravitational forces, making it challenging to determine if Newton's Law holds true.
  • ⚖️ Electrical attraction follows Coulomb's Law accurately at normal human scales.
  • 👨‍🔬 The uncertainty surrounding gravity at short distances suggests the existence of undiscovered phenomena and the need for further research.

Transcript

It’s well known that gravity pulls two objects together with a force proportional to the mass of one, times the mass of the other, divided by the square of the distance between them. . Anyway, this equation is called Newton’s law of universal gravitation, it’s taught to school children the world over, and it predicts the motions of the planets and ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is Newton's Law of Gravitation inaccurate in scenarios with strong gravitational forces?

In the presence of strong gravitational forces, such as near a black hole, the mathematics of general relativity provide a more accurate description of gravity than Newton's Law.

Q: Why is it challenging to test Newton's Law of Gravitation for weak gravitational forces?

Gravity becomes too weak to measure accurately for objects that are far apart or have less mass, making it difficult to determine if Newton's Law applies in these scenarios.

Q: How does electrical attraction compare to gravitational attraction at normal human scales?

Electrical attraction, described by Coulomb's Law, is a million billion times stronger than the predicted gravitational attraction. This strength allows for precise confirmation of Coulomb's Law.

Q: What is the state of our understanding of gravity at very short distances?

Our knowledge of gravity at short distances is uncertain. There is a possibility that gravity's behavior deviates from Newton's Law, potentially indicating the existence of additional dimensions of space.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Newton's Law of Gravitation accurately predicts the motions of planets and moons in our solar system but is not universal.

  • In scenarios with extremely strong or weak gravitational forces, Newton's Law of Gravitation is either inaccurate or untested.

  • Applying Newton's Law of Gravitation to non-astronomical objects is impractical due to the extremely weak gravitational forces involved.

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