MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Link between magnetism and gravity

Date: Mon Aug 15 03:07:12 2005
Posted By: Ed Stammel, Faculty, Computer, SUNY Delhi
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1123237658.Ph


Great question!  Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences.

The similarities are: 
Gravity, magnetism, and electricity are all field forces.  They act on 
material at a distance.  The forces appear to follow the inverse square 
law.  That is the force diminishes with the square of the distance.  The 
forces are invisible action-at-a-distance effects.  

The differences:  Gravity is influenced by mass, electricity by charge, 
and magnetism by a complex interaction of charge and its motion.  
Electricity is polar (+/-), magnetism is polar (N/S), but gravity appears 
not to have an anti component.  Electric and magnetic fields can be 
modified by the matter they pass through, gravity appears not to be so 
effected.  Electric and magnetic fields have a mutual interrelationship.  
Maxwell and others studied and developed theories which have created the 
complex technological world we inhabit.  Gravity seems to be a somewhat 
odd duck and does not cooperate with the others.

So, on first glance, gravity is not related to any other field forces.  
Einstein explained this in his famous special and general theories of 
relativity.  More recent theories, however, seem to be exploring some 
possible links.  “Strings” and “branes” seem to be evidence of a finer 
structure to the universe.  If these theories hold true we may very well 
find out that on the most fundamental level all matter, energy, and forces 
may be the result of ultramicroscopic interactions of sub matter.

Maybe you are young enough and curious enough to join the quest.  Learn 
all the math and science you can, research what is happening in the field, 
and try to enter some of the more forward thinking universities in the 
world.  Cambridge is a fine institution in the U.K.  But don’t despair if 
you can’t go to Cambridge or Harvard.  Einstein had trouble getting 
through grammar school and look what he accomplished one hundred years ago.

E Stammel
SUNY Delhi

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