Wednesday, 6 February 2008

The Theory of Gravity

The Theory of Gravity
(The Chapter from The Final Theory)

By; Arip Nurahman

Department of Physics,
Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics
Indonesian University of Education

Gravity as One of Four Basic Forces in Nature
Gravity is one of the most fundamental and familiar forces of nature. As such, before discussing gravity in particular, it is important to clarify what the forces of nature are considered to be and how they relate both to Standard Theory and to our ultimate quest for understanding. Although Standard Theory is a composite of many sub-theories, some of which were listed earlier in Figure 1-1, most scientists believe the search for the Theory of Everything is a quest to understand and unify what are currently considered to be the four separate fundamental forces of nature:

• Gravity – the familiar attraction between all matter, first described by Isaac Newton.

• Electromagnetism – the closely related phenomena of electricity and magnetism, as well as electromagnetic radiation such as radio waves and light.

• Strong Nuclear Force – a powerful, short-range force thought to be holding atomic
nuclei together. Atomic nuclei have many positively charged protons in close proximity, which should strongly repel each other and cause the nucleus to fly apart according to the theory of Electric Charge. Therefore, the concept of an attracting Strong Nuclear Force between protons in the nucleus was introduced to explain how the nucleus is held together in apparent violation of Electric Charge Theory.

• Weak Nuclear Force – another nuclear force, considered to be much weaker than the Strong Nuclear Force. Phenomena such as the random decay of populations of subatomic particles (i.e. radioactivity) were difficult to explain until the concept of this additional nuclear force was introduced.

It is currently believed that these are the four fundamental forces in nature, and that, in essence, they are merely different manifestations of one single underlying force or principle that has so far eluded science. To discover this underlying force or principle would be to arrive at the Theory of Everything since, at a glance, it would show the single underlying cause for every observation, belief, and theory in science today. Such a unified understanding is expected to transform the patchwork of separate abstract theories in Standard Theory into a much simpler, coherent whole that shows a true physical explanation for everything, sparking a scientific revolution.

The new theory discussed throughout these chapters suggests that while this vision is the proper intuition, there are several reasons why success has eluded us so far. First, since we obviously lack the deeper understanding that we are seeking, we cannot be certain we have properly identified the fundamental forces of nature. If, for example, our theory of Electric Charge is an imperfect model of the true underlying principle behind many of our observations, then our current model of proton behavior as positively charged particles that always repel each other may not be an accurate description of the nucleus of an atom. Instead, it may be perfectly natural for protons to cluster together when in the nucleus of an atom, according to an undiscovered principle in nature that may have been misunderstood and represented as a “positive electric charge” upon protons. That is, in many situations protons may behave as if they literally possess our concept of a “positive charge,” but this behavior could also arise from a very different principle – one that causes them to naturally cluster together when in an atomic nucleus. In that case, the concept of a “Strong Nuclear Force” keeping the nucleus from flying apart would be a completely unnecessary fabrication, and our attempts to find a unifying theory would be based in part on a force that doesn’t even exist. Our current goal of unifying these four forces may be based on such flawed assumptions from the start.

Secondly, much of our current and largely mathematical approach to finding a unifying theory may be straying from the original spirit and purpose of the quest. The goal of a new and deep physical understanding of our universe may be in danger of merely becoming an exercise in mathematical manipulation of our current equations. Since arrival at this deep physical understanding is expected to yield a common mathematical framework for all the forces of nature, it is often assumed that if we simply pursue this mathematical end result directly – using our current models – we will achieve this deeper understanding. However, this approach may be unsound since it assumes we have correctly identified the fundamental forces of nature and simply need to rearrange our mathematical models. Yet, if this turns out to be an incorrect assumption, then such an approach would only achieve a largely meaningless mathematical link between flawed models of the physical world. This approach also risks trivializing our search for deeper physical understanding into an attempt to achieve a mere mathematical goal, bringing no deeper meaning. We may expect mathematically unified models to emerge once we achieve a deep physical understanding of our universe, but this does not necessarily mean this deep physical understanding will emerge by mathematically unifying our current models. It is possible that this approach may provide some useful insights, but it may also result in little more than contrived mathematical relationships between essentially the same equations modeling the same limited physical understanding we have today.

For the reasons mentioned above, the discussions of this new “theory of everything” in the coming chapters do not strictly follow the format of a mathematical unification of the “four fundamental forces” in nature. In fact, there is very little math and only loose references to these forces amidst a broad and rich discussion of science in clear physical and common-sense terms. The discussions do, however, begin with the first of these forces – gravity – showing the numerous problems with our current gravitational beliefs, and leading to an introduction of the new unifying principle behind a new theory of gravity that resolves these problems. Once this new principle is established, it does indeed ripple through the rest of Standard Theory in the chapters that follow, not only redefining our concept of the “four fundamental forces,” but redefining the complete patchwork of theories in science today in clear physical terms.

The Trouble with Gravity
Newton’s Theory of Gravity is undoubtedly one of the most universally recognized and accepted theories in all of science. It has become so deeply ingrained in our thinking and our science over the centuries that this theory has largely become synonymous with the very phenomenon of gravity itself. It is almost inconceivable today to separate our everyday experience of gravity from Newton’s proposal of an attracting force emanating from all matter; yet, as shown in the following discussions, Newton’s theory actually contains many unexplained mysteries and scientifically impossible claims. Such problems should prevent any new theory from becoming widely accepted as fact, leaving it only with the status of a proposal or hypothesis; however, the compelling nature of Newton’s proposal combined with the lack of a more viable theory has meant that it has largely escaped such scrutiny.

● Newton’s theory of gravity does not explain why objects
attract one another; it simply models this observation.

● There is no known power source supporting the gravitational
field that Newton claims to be emanating from our planet and
from all objects.

● Despite the ongoing energy expended by Earth’s gravity to
hold objects down and the moon in orbit, this energy never
diminishes in strength or drains a power source – in violation
of one of our most fundamental laws of physics: the Law of
Conservation of Energy.

● These mysteries and violations are overlooked today because
of a flawed explanation that arises from the improper use of an
equation known as the Work Function.

● Every effect explained by Newton’s theory of gravity today is
accurately modeled by non-gravitational equations that existed
even before Newton.

● Newton’s gravitational force is actually an entirely redundant
and superfluous concept providing no additional usefulness
and having no proven existence in nature or scientific support.

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