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PARADIGM SHIFT: perhaps gravity is a product of energy, rather than mass.

To date, it has always been assumed that gravity is caused by mass. The concept of dark matter has been created to explain some observational anomalies based upon measurements of mass and gravitiational effects. I suggestthat the anomolies are the result of an incorrect paradigm.
Remember that all mass contains energy. In fact, mass contains among the greatest concentrations of energy in the universe. If energy were the source of gravity, on a local scale, only the energy concentrations involved in mass would produce a measurable gravitational effect (which is why it would seem that mass produces the effect rather than energy), but at systemic and galactic scales there is an abundance of energy radiating from stars and other phenomena. If one considers the entire flux of energy from these sources, the amount of energy would be equivalent to a rather large supply of mass.This equivalence might be sufficient to explain the discrepencies in our observations versus our expectations.
This could explain why the gravitational effects of "dark matter" are never observed at a local scale. It might also explain why stars at the edge of galaxies are orbiting at faster speeds than predicted. Not only is energy increasing the scalar values of gravitational effect, but it is also dispersing the gravitation source across a larger area, including outside the galaxies.

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  • Apr 20 2012: Okay, I have worked out some basic figures. The equivalent mass of the EM solar flux from the sun measures approxiamtely 1.25 x 10^20 kg / year (this is the amount of mass converted diectly into EM energy). This is equivalent to approximately 0.02 or 0.03 % the mass of the earth.

    Of course, we should also consider the mass and energy of the solar flux of ionised particles, which is considerably more substantial... but I do not have the exact figures at this time.

    The next task would be to chart the distribution of these flux to determine if that might account for the gravitational effects observed on systemic scales. We should also consider the flux from "nearby" stars to determine any effect they might cause, as well.

    After that, we could chart the effect of the flux from all the stars (and other phenomena) within a galaxy, within a timeframe representing the galactic span in light-years, to see if they might account for observations made at the galactic scale.

    Assuming a relatively constant flux, these figures should be able to provide us with a "landscape" covering the span that light travels in a given measure of time. This landscape would provide us with details about the expected hypothetical distribution of gravity, from which we should be able to falsify the hypothesis (assuming it is incorrect).
  • Apr 20 2012: One potential consequence of this hypothesis, if I am correct: it opens up the possibility that electromagnetic radiation itself (photons) might be serving "double duty" as the "gravitons" some physicists have been searching for.
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      Apr 20 2012: It doesn't necessarily have to be the case for the very fabric of space, space itself, has some energy associated with it.
      • Apr 20 2012: Marcel,
        Are you referring to universal background radiation, hypothesized zero-point energy, or some other energy component?
  • Apr 20 2012: Von,
    In essence, I agree. However, modern physics makes a distinction between mass and energy, and it is mass that is currently attributed to gravity. Since electromagnetic radiation has no mass, for them, it has no gravity. On a localised scale, this does not cause a problem because the amount of gravity generated by an equivalent mass of the energy involved (current physics) would be insignificant. However, I tend to think that the amount of solar mass converted to energy by even a single star within a single year might very well be singnificant and measureable (in terms of gravitational effect) if physicists included this energy in their calculations of gravity.
    Again, it should be fairly simple to falsify this hypothesis, if it is incorrect.
  • Apr 19 2012: If matter generates gravity, and energy & matter are interchangeable, then energy would by default have to generate gravity as well.

    I think that gravity generation by energy mass (as opposed to matter or "physical" mass) is often overlooked simply because of scale; the sheer difference between the amount of energy that can occupy a space versus the amount of matter means that the amount of gravity given off by a volume of energy in a space is going to be exceedingly small, especially when compared to that of a solid object.
  • Apr 19 2012: Hello Marcel,

    Thanks for your comment.
    For the time being, I see no reason to redefine the classical definition of energy as the capacity of a physical system to do work. The important consideration here is that electromagnetic radiation contains energy, but it does not contain mass. My argument suggests that electromagnetic emissions (flux) should be considered in predicting gravitational effects.
    Personally, I also believe that energy is "carried" exclusively through electromagnetic radiation (photons), and that matter is actually nothing more than configurations of photons interacting with one-another. However, this viewpoint is not absolutely relevent to energy as a source of gravitational attraction.
    I should point out that "energy" is not a physical substance, but a (primarily mathematical) property useful for determining how physical substances will interact.
    By the way, your explanation about dark matter fits in very nicely with my argument...

    Regarding the paradigm shift: some shifts can be small. The nice thing is that my suggestion should be easily falsifiable for those with sufficient mathematical prowess, time, and data. If one can calculate the strength and the distribution of the electromagnetic flux within a large enough volume of space, one should be able to calculate the effects of this flux upon gravitational measurement (if my hypothesis is correct). I believe sufficient data is available to at least determine if the expectations of the hypothesis at least approach actual observations.
    For the most part, physics would be untouched... the paradigm shift (if supported) just means that we would need to include measurement of electromagnetic flux to account for large scale gravitational effects.
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    Apr 18 2012: Hi Michael,
    I guess that a paradigm shift means that we are facing a new era in physics, to me however the meaning of an incorrect paradigm is unknown.
    The world of physics is mainly based on calculation, for in physics a theory has to be proven wrong, only philosophy can't disproof a theory, so i don't expect a paradigm shift in phisics any time soon.
    The most logical explanation why the gravitational effects of "dark matter" are never observed at a local scale are simular to the fact that it is impossible to conclude that oxygen is blue by looking at your feet while standing, looking at the sky at daytime just might reveal the color of oxygen.

    Edit 29 april- the sky looks blue because of the bending of light, this is caled Rayleigh scattering- oxygen as a liquid is light blue and paramagnetic.

    "Dark matter", "dark energy" and "the big bang" are all words without definition, however "electron", "magnetism" and "gravity" are words with some definition.
    We can make positrons, produce magnetism and calculate gravity but our knowledge of the electron, magnetism and gravity have some gaps.As for your idea, what do you see as energy? you might be on the right track but I can't tell for your idea lacks explanation.
    My idea of energy is momentum or a vector. Speed increases mass and gravity. A increase of mass and gravity slows down time.