In an amazing coincidence, at least from a personal point of view, after posting The Gravity of the Situation, I went to GalaxyFest and was fortunate enough to be on a panel about how Science Fiction influences science, and vise-versa. Also on that panel was Scott M. Tyson, author of The Unobservable Universe.
I have not had time to finish Mr. Tyson’s book yet, but I will. And I can’t promise I will understand it, but then I don’t really get the currently held theories either.
But to my point! I just got done harping that we do not know what gravity is, merely what some of the effects of its influence are.
Mr. Tyson believes he knows what it is, or at least has a better idea of what it is, and not only that, he confided in me that there are things in the works to use this information that will change the world in within the next decade.
Things like clean energy from gravity…(Fingers crossed)
So here goes my thumbnail sketch of what little I understand of Mr Tyson’s theory. (Please forgive me Mr. Tyson!)
The universe is basically divided into two overlapping ‘dimensions’ that exist all around us. These Mr. Tyson calls ‘hemiverses’. One, we are in, can see, and are a part of; the observerse (I think of it as the observable universe, as I believe Mr. Tyson intended.) The other, the voidverse, is of course void and unobservable.
My understanding is that the ‘void’ is not actually ‘nothing’ as it appears to us, but is actually made up of something like ‘potential’ that can become the energy in the observerse. Mr. Tyson calls these indeterminate probability waves.
If we try to observe/measure these waves of ‘potential’, they are forced into observable, measurable states, thus fulfilling their potential. If this seems far-fetched to you, go back to the idea of Schrödinger’s Cat, which I thumb-nailed in Schrödinger’s Cat Walks Into A Bar With Heisenberg And Steps On A Butterfly. The idea really is no different.
Now, when this happens, when the indeterminate probability waves collapse into determinate states of energy, they no longer exist in the voidverse as indeterminate probability waves, they now exist in the observerse as energy. They have moved from one hemiverse to the other and changed form.
The ‘gap’ left in the voidverse by the absence of the indeterminate probability waves that changed is now filled with something we can recognize/see/measure either as energy or matter. Which we know from the laws of conservation of energy are different aspects of the same thing.
The way the indeterminate probability waves that are left behind now bend around the newly formed energy/mass is gravity. Remember the two hemiverses are overlapped, we just cannot observe the voidverse even though it is all around us. The bending of the indeterminate probability waves around matter is what creates the effect we know as gravity.
Is this the right answer? Has Mr. Tyson figured it out? I don’t know. I don’t really understand it. Then, as I said before, I don’t really understand the conventional thoughts on gravity.
I am sure their are many who will be quick to poo poo Mr. Tyson’s theory, but keep in mind, no one really knows what gravity is, and, as Mr. Tyson himself told me, whether he is right or wrong may be very soon demonstrated by advances in technology within the next decade.
Here is to clean energy! (Can you try to keep it cheap too, Mr. Tyson? Thanks!)
By the way, please remember this is from my very basic understanding of Mr. Tyson’s theories as he explained them to me in a brief discussion. Any mistakes here are mine, not his, any misused or misunderstood terms are mine, not his. If this interests you, please go straight to the source and get it right, don’t take my word for it.