MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Does a graviton's gravity pull in all directions?

Date: Tue Feb 29 20:31:18 2000
Posted By: Layne Johnson, Undergraduate
Area of science: Physics
ID: 951726297.Ph

Hello, Marino!

An individual graviton does not have any gravity.  It is a massless 
particle that conducts gravity.  Even the word "particle" is a little 
misleading.  The correct term to describe gravitons is boson.  A boson has 
an energy force, but no mass.  Photons are another example of bosons.

Since a graviton has no mass, it has no gravity.  It simply carries the 
force of gravity between objects with mass.

Like other bosons, gravitons probably behave somewhat like waves and 
somewhat like packets of energy.  This is why the term "particle" is 
misleading.  I like to think of gravitons as invisible ropes that tie two 
objects together.  If you've ever taken a rope, laid it out straight, then 
whipped it, you know that the distance between the two ends of the rope 
shrinks as the waves in the rope get larger.  The more energy you use to 
whip the rope, the bigger the waves in it, and the two ends of the rope 
move closer together.

Think of gravity as the force that whips the rope.  The closer two objects 
are together, the more gravitational force they have on each other.  This 
makes the waves in the rope bigger, and the two objects are pulled together 
by the rope.

The ropes, or gravitons, don't have any gravitational pull themselves.  
They are just the carrier of the gravity force.

I hope this answers your question,

Layne Johnson

To learn more about gravitons and bosons and the sub-atomic world they call 
home, read the particle adventure.
A map of what we know about the sub-atomic particle is 
called the standard model.

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