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Hello there, once more…

This is Part Four! Let us jump right in. However, this part confuses me.. anyway Enjoy!

FYI, Stay tuned for more!

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Follow-Up #5: magnetism and gravity redux

Q: Magnetism has both an attractive and repulsive force. This obeys newtons law stating that every action has an equal and an opposite reaction. Gravity is an attractive force. Is it not worth contemplating that perhaps gravity also has a repulsive force? Could it not be possible that gravity and magnetism are a consequence of each other or that they are individual parts of a greater force not yet understood or fathomed?

Joel, Brisbane

A: There’s no connection between the ability of magnetism to either attract or repel and Newton’s 3d law. That law says that for any force between two objects, the magnitudes of the force of one on the other and vice-versa are the same, and the directions are opposite. A repulsive force of A on B is accompanied by a repulsive force of B on A. So purely attractive forces can also obey Newton’s 3d law. (More generally, it just states that momentum is conserved, even in multi-body interactions, and that still doesn’t require any repulsive component.)

As it happens, plain old gravity, as in General Relativity, does have a sort of repulsion associated with it. When the energy density of space, rather than its energy content, is fixed, the gravitational law gives an accelerating expansion. That’s actually happening now, and may well have happened very intensely at an earlier stage.

Are gravity and magnetism aspects of some more unified force? We know that magnetism is just an aspect of electricity. It was sort of unified by Maxwell in ~1860, with the unification completed by Special Relativity in 1905. More recently electromagnetism has been unified with one nuclear force to give the electroweak force. It’s generally assumed that the remaining chromodynamic force will also be integrated into this framework, giving a Grand Unified Theory (GUT). Working gravity into the same unified structure is tough. That’s what the string theorists are trying to do. Maybe they will succeed. If they do, however, there will be no special connection between the magnetic piece of the electrical sector of the electroweak subset of the GUT  portion of the overall theory and the gravitational side of the same theory.

We’re still a little puzzled by the persistent sense that these two phenomena have some special connection. 

Mike W. (published on 05/10/10)

Follow-Up #6: force mechanisms

Q: What is the mechanism that causes one massive object to move toward another? Just saying that two massive objects attract each other does not explain the movement. There has to be some sort of mechanics or propulsion by both toward each other. Perhaps the god particle or the particle that gives all matter it’s mass also emits a particle in the opposite direction of other mass particles and thus causes the two masses to be propelled toward the each other? Perhaps magnets are individually propelled toward each other rather than pulled toward each other. That would explain the fact that no substance can be placed between them to nullify their actions

Jim Wells (age 64) Valparaiso,IN 46383

A: I’m not sure I follow all of your question closely enough to give a direct answer (and also I’m probably not knowledgeable enough to give a complete answer) but some parts can be addressed easily.

The force between magnets can be eliminated by placing a sheet of conventional superconducting material between them. So that would seem to argue against your idea about the origin of the magnetic force.

With regard to gravity, the standard theory (General Relativity) describes a space-time geometry whose curvature is sensitive to the local density of mass and momentum. In some sense this curvy space can be considered a “mechanism” for the interaction. However, the quantum mechanical versions of the same idea (not yet developed to a complete consistent form for gravity) do involve exchange of gravitons, which does sound related to the idea you are thinking about.

Mike W.(published on 08/06/10)

Source: University of Illinois

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