Apr 02, 2019 09:51 AM EDT
Gravity is one of the most studied phenomena in science. It is also a fundamental force of the universe, but what is it? We experience it every single day of our lives, and in fact, without gravity, your body would soon undergo some interesting changes. But gravity isn't as simple as it may seem and is rather interesting. Here are 5 interesting facts about gravity.
Interesting Fact #1: Gravity isn't actually a force.
Whilst this might seem a little counterintuitive, gravity might not actually be a force at all. According to Albert Einstein, gravity is actually more of a consequence of something else rather than a force in its own right.
Interesting Fact #2: Your favorite fridge magnet is stronger than the Earth's gravity.
It's amazing to think that that tiny magnet is able to defy the gravity of an entire planet. However, gravity is the weakest of the so-called fundamental forces in physics. It also pales in comparison to the electromagnetic force that holds the magnet onto the fridge.
Interesting Fact #3: Some massive objects can actually make gravitational waves.
Einstein's theories describe how massive objects distort space-time. As these objects move that should, according to Einstein, create ripples in the very fabric of space. In fact, three Nobel Prize-winning scientists were able to observe a collision between two black holes about 1.8 billion light-years away. These black holes are massive indeed with one being 31 times the mass of our sun and the other 25 times. The collision converted the mass of about 3 suns into gravitational-wave energy in the fraction of a second!
Interesting Fact #4: Gravity on Earth actually varies.
The Earth is not a perfect sphere. It also has lots of lumps and bumps in the form of mountains, and deep gorges. The composition of the Earth is also not uniform around the world. Different rock types, concentrations of minerals, and geography all collude to create pockets of varying average density in all over the place. This directly affects gravity at different places on the Earth's surface.
Interesting Fact #5: Quantum mechanics and gravity are at odds.
Quantum mechanics helps us explain how atoms, molecules, and other fundamental particles interact. Einstein's theory of general relativity, on the other hand, helps explain how things work on the mega-scale. But the problem is these two realms of physics don't seem to fit together. Whilst a lot of work has been carried out to fix this issue, it is still one of the biggest challenges of modern physics.
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