How the Weakest Force in the Universe Shaped Our Lives

Book - 2012
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A history of gravity, and a study of its importance and relevance to our lives, as well as its influence on other areas of science.

Physicists will tell you that four forces control the universe. Of these, gravity may the most obvious, but it is also the most mysterious. Newton managed to predict the force of gravity but couldn't explain how it worked at a distance. Einstein picked up on the simple premise that gravity and acceleration are interchangeable to devise his mind-bending general relativity, showing how matter warps space and time. Not only did this explain how gravity worked - and how apparently simple gravitation has four separate components - but it predicted everything from black holes to gravity's effect on time. Whether it's the reality of anti-gravity or the unexpected discovery that a ball and a laser beam drop at the same rate, gravity is the force that fascinates.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, c2012.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780312616298
Branch Call Number: 539.754 CLEGG B
Characteristics: 322 pages ; 22 cm.


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Mar 12, 2019

Excellent read. Starts out simple but fun and unique. First half is simple.
Second half is more specific about the search for quantum gravity.
The book doesn't target one theory. Instead it offers 5 or 6 TOE's.
Describes the hunt for gravity waves but admits none have been found in 2014.
BUT we did find gravity waves using LILO in 2016 and the Nobel prize was awarded for it in 2017. It was found in the manner and from a source exactly as Glegg predicted. Cool.
An accurate gravity wave telescope will allow us to look past the big bang through the plasma.
I loved this book.

Apr 11, 2018

Very readable about the mysterious gravity. I guess physicists like to see things and so far gravity has eluded them.
I also like that Clegg reminds us that black holes, big bang and black matter are so far theories. Stay tuned for proof!

Nov 26, 2012

Author revisited Newtonian Mechanics, General Relativity and Gravity with updates on recent work on anti-matters, anti-gravity, dark matters etc:Relativity and the Cosmos By Alan Lightman Posted 09.09.97 NOVAExcerpt - The essence of gravityWhat was general relativity? Einstein's earlier theory of time and space, special relativity, proposed that distance and time are not absolute. The ticking rate of a clock depends on the motion of the observer of that clock; likewise for the length of a "yardstick." Published in 1915, general relativity proposed that gravity, as well as motion, can affect the intervals of time and of space. The key idea of general relativity, called the equivalence principle, is that gravity pulling in one direction is completely equivalent to an acceleration in the opposite direction. A car accelerating forwards feels just like sideways gravity pushing you back against your seat. An elevator accelerating upwards feels just like gravity pushing you into the floor.If gravity is equivalent to acceleration, and if motion affects measurements of time and space (as shown in special relativity), then it follows that gravity does so as well. In particular, the gravity of any mass, such as our sun, has the effect of warping the space and time around it. For example, the angles of a triangle no longer add up to 180 degrees, and clocks tick more slowly the closer they are to a gravitational mass like the sun.Many of the predictions of general relativity, such as the bending of starlight by gravity and a tiny shift in the orbit of the planet Mercury, have been quantitatively confirmed by experiment. Two of the strangest predictions, impossible ever to completely confirm, are the existence of black holes and the effect of gravity on the universe as a whole (cosmology).


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