As a consequence of the Lorentz transformations, time and space transform into each other when changing reference frame. This calls for a unified description: Minkowski spacetime.

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Does the Planck scale imply that spacetime is discrete?

On a quantum scale the smallest unit is the Planck scale, which is a discrete measure. There several question that come to mind: Does that mean that particles can only live in a discrete grid-like ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Does the curvature of spacetime theory assume gravity?

Whenever I read about the curvature of spacetime as an explanation for gravity, I see pictures of a sheet (spacetime) with various masses indenting the sheet to form "gravity wells." Objects which are ...
9
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5answers
2k views

Did spacetime start with the Big bang?

Did spacetime start with the Big Bang? I mean, was there any presence of this spacetime we are experiencing now before big bang? And could there be a presence/existence of any other space-time before ...
51
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6answers
3k views

What is known about the topological structure of spacetime?

General relativity says that spacetime is a Lorentzian 4-manifold $M$ whose metric satisfies Einstein's field equations. I have two questions: What topological restrictions do Einstein's equations ...
25
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5answers
3k views

Einstein's postulates $\leftrightarrow$ Minkowski space for a Layman

What's the cleanest/quickest way to go between Einstein's postulates [1] of Relativity: Physical laws are the same in all inertial reference frames. Constant speed of light: "... light is always ...
27
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8answers
13k views

How exactly does curved space-time describe the force of gravity?

I understand that people explain (in layman's terms at least) that the presence of mass "warps" space-time geometry, and this causes gravity. I have also of course heard the analogy of a blanket or ...
26
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4answers
1k views

Does the universe have a center?

If the big bang was the birth of everything, and the big bang was an event in the sense that it had a location and a time (time 0), wouldn't that mean that our universe has a center? Where was the ...
17
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5answers
4k views

Why is gravitation force always attractive?

Why is the gravitational force always attractive? Is there another way to explain this without the curvature of space time? PS: If the simple answer to this question is that mass makes space-time ...
37
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7answers
2k views

Is 3+1 spacetime as privileged as is claimed?

I've often heard the argument that having 3 spatial dimensions is very special. Such arguments are invariably based on certain assumptions that do not appear to be justifiable at all, at least to me. ...
24
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1answer
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How does classical GR concept of space-time emerge from string theory?

First, I'll state some background that lead me to the question. I was thinking about quantization of space-time on and off for a long time but I never really looked into it any deeper (mainly because ...
13
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4answers
4k views

Is spacetime discrete or continuous?

Is the spacetime continuous or discrete? Or better, is the 4-dimensional spacetime of general-relativity discrete or continuous? What if we consider additional dimensions like string theory ...
11
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7answers
3k views

Experimental evidence of a fourth spatial dimension?

As human beings, we observe the world in which we live in three dimensions. However, it is certainly theoretically possible that more dimensions exist. Is there any direct or indirect evidence ...
10
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2answers
1k views

Invariant spacetime - distance - Circular Motion

I understand that the closer something travels to the speed of light, that time will stretch by a factor, and distance will compress by the same factor. My question is, if something travels in a ...
7
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2answers
1k views

What's the difference between space and time?

I'm having a hard time understanding how changing space means changing time. In books I've read people are saying "space and time" or "space-time" but never explain what the difference is between the ...
9
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5answers
3k views

What is our location relative to the Big Bang?

Given what we know about space, time and the movement of galaxies, have we or can we determine what our position is in relation to the projected location of the Big Bang? I've read some introductory ...
2
votes
4answers
942 views

The real meaning of time dilation

Is this true or false: If A and B have clocks and are traveling at relative velocity to each other, then to B it APPEARS that A's clock moving slower, but A sees his own clock moving at normal speed. ...
13
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3answers
753 views

Swimming in Spacetime - apparent conserved quantity violation

My question is about the article Swimming in Spacetime. My gut reaction on first reading it was "this violates conservation of momentum, doesn't it?". I now realize, however, that this doesn't allow ...
4
votes
2answers
789 views

How could spacetime become discretised at the Planck scale?

I didn't have much luck getting a response to this question before so I have tried to reword and expand it a little: In early 2010 I attended this inaugural lecture by string theorist- Prof. ...
15
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6answers
885 views

Proving that interval preserving transformations are linear

In almost all proofs I've seen of the Lorentz transformations one starts on the assumption that the required transformations are linear. I'm wondering if there is a way to prove the linearity: Prove ...
11
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1answer
732 views

Intuition for multiple temporal dimensions

It’s easy, relatively speaking, to develop an intuition for higher spatial dimensions, usually by induction on familiar lower-dimensional spaces. But I’m having difficulty envisioning a universe with ...
3
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1answer
619 views

Universe Expansion as an absolute time reference

Why we call "constant" to the Hubble constant?, if the universe were really expanding then the Hubble "constant" should change, being variable, smaller and smaller..with "time". Other example/view ...
94
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6answers
38k views

If you view the Earth from far enough away can you observe its past?

From my understanding of light, you are always looking into the past based on how much time it takes the light to reach you from what you are observing. For example when you see a star burn out, if ...
41
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5answers
3k views

Does Coulomb's Law, with Gauss's Law, imply the existence of only three spatial dimensions?

Coulomb's Law states that the fall-off of the strength of the electrostatic force is inversely proportional to the distance squared of the charges. Gauss's law implies that a the total flux through a ...
4
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3answers
2k views

Gravitational time dilation at the earth's center

I would like to know what happens with time dilation (relative to surface) at earth's center . There is a way to calculate it? Is time going faster at center of earth? I've made other questions ...
0
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3answers
703 views

Whats left at the center of the Universe after Big bang?

If you consider big bang. According to that What's left at the center of universe where the Big bang occured?
4
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3answers
633 views

Does (it make sense to say that ) the universe has a center?

I was reading this page: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/oct/23/brian-cox-jeff-forshaw-answers and I found this sentence by Brian Cox: That seems to imply that everything is flying away ...
4
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6answers
2k views

Surely space-time Curvature does not explain gravity, it just describe its effects?

In special relativity co-moving objects see the other's 4-velocity as being only temporal. When they move relative to each other they see the other's 4-velocity has rotated so that it points less in ...
3
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1answer
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Voyager local time dilation (caused by gravity)

Voyager I, as an example, taking account gravity and setting aside effects of speed as cause of time dilation. If it is very far away from earth and sun, so then there must be a difference in the ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Why do objects follow geodesics in spacetime?

Trying to teach myself general relativity. I sort of understand the derivation of the geodesic equation ...
25
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3answers
2k views

Why is spacetime curved by mass but not charge?

It is written everywhere that gravity is curvature of spacetime caused by the mass of the objects or something to the same effect. This raises a question with me: why isn't spacetime curved due to ...
10
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1answer
581 views

Is spacetime flat inside a spherical shell?

In a perfectly symmetrical spherical hollow shell, there is a null net gravitational force according to Newton, since in his theory the force is exactly inversely proportional to the square of the ...
4
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3answers
515 views

Why do clocks measure arc-length?

Apologies in advance for the long question. My understanding is that in GR, massive observers move along timelike curves $x^\mu(\lambda)$, and if an observer moves from point $x^\mu(\lambda_a)$ to ...
11
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2answers
609 views

Is spacetime simply connected?

As I've stated in a prior question of mine, I am a mathematician with very little knowledge of Physics, and I ask here things I'm curious about/things that will help me learn. This falls into the ...
11
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4answers
4k views

Why does Venus rotate the opposite direction as other planets?

Given: Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum. Reverse spinning with dense atmosphere (92 times > Earth & CO2 dominant sulphur based). Surface same degree of aging all over. Hypothetical large ...
1
vote
1answer
623 views

What is the general relativistic calculation of travel time to Proxima Centauri?

It has already been asked here how fast a probe would have to travel to reach Alpha Centauri within 60 years. NASA has done some research into a probe that would take 100 years to make the trip. But ...
5
votes
2answers
439 views

Can a black hole be formed by radiation?

I'm trying to find out if black holes could be created by focusing enough light into a small enough volume. So far I have found (any or all may be incorrect): Maxwell's equations are linear, ...
2
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1answer
482 views

Does time expand with space? (or contract)

Einstein's big revelation was that time and space are inseparable components of the same fabric. Physical observation tells us that distant galaxies are moving away from us at an accelerated rate, and ...
12
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3answers
2k views

If the universe were compressed into a super massive black hole, how big would it be?

I understand only a little of general relativity, but that's why I'm here! :) Consider the hypothetical situation of some extra-terrestrial intelligence pushing all the mass in the universe, every ...
17
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3answers
730 views

Has the concept of non-integer $(n+m)$-dimensional spacetime ever been investigated by theoretical physicists?

The following image serves to aid the reader in understanding the "privileged character" of $3+1$-spacetime. The wikipedia article on spacetime, and the sub-article "The priveleged character of ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Can spacetime be non-orientable?

This question asks what constraints there are on the global topology of spacetime from the Einstein equations. It seems to me the quotient of any global solution can in turn be a global solution. In ...
6
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2answers
652 views

Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon?

Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon? If so, can quantum mechanics describe the universe at high energies where there is no ...
5
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4answers
922 views

Alternate layman's metaphors for illustrating curved space-time

The metaphor of a surface (typically a pool table or a trampoline) distorted by a massive object is commonly used as a metaphor for illustrating gravitationally induced space-time curvature. But as ...
3
votes
8answers
11k views

How does velocity cause time dilation?

I've been trying to learn about the speed of light and time dilation, but I'm at an impasse. The presented facts say that if I travel around the solar system at 50% the speed of light and then come ...
2
votes
2answers
124 views

Deriving formula for time dilation

Last week in class we derived the formula for time dilation using light clocks and got $$t=\gamma t_0\quad \gamma=\left(1+\left(\frac vc\right)^2\right)^{-1/2}$$ So far so good. However, after class I ...
2
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0answers
71 views

If two ends were a certain “length” apart were they therefore at rest (or at least rigid) to each other? [closed]

Considering the definition of the SI unit of "length" [1] and [2 (" method a.")] I'm missing any requirements about the two "ends" of the required "path travelled by light" being "at rest to each ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Is String Theory formulated in flat or curved spacetime?

String Theory is formulated in 10 or 11 (or 26?) dimensions where it is assumed that all of the space dimensions except for 3 (large) space dimensions and 1 time dimension are a compact manifold with ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Hubble's law and conservation of energy

If all distances are constantly increasing, as Hubble's law say, then lots of potential energies of form ~$\frac{1}{r}$ changes, so how is the total energy of the Universe conserved with Hubble's ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Minkowski spacetime: Is there a signature (+,+,+,+)?

In history there was an attempt to reach (+, +, +, +) by replacing "ct" with "ict", still employed today in form of the "Wick rotation". Wick rotation supposes that time is imaginary. I wonder if ...
5
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5answers
1k views

What is the extent of the universe?

Is there any realistic, understandable, provable (even in some extent) explanation/model for the extent of the universe? What is its shape? and Why? I mean physical explanations not philosophical ...
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6answers
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Does vacuum (empty space) exist? [closed]

Added: 5 times down vote for now! Down voter is this religion or physics, please try to explain your decision. I'm confused about this. In physics we know for a vacuum, but I think that there is a ...