What Is Gravity?

Space.com | 8/21/2019 | Charlie Wood
moemajor (Posted by) Level 3
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Of the universe's fundamental forces, only one dominates every moment of our conscious experience: gravity. It keeps us close to the ground, drags baseballs and basketballs out of the air and gives our muscles something to struggle against. Cosmically, gravity is just as consequential. From collapsing hydrogen clouds into stars to gluing galaxies together, gravity represents one of just a few players that determine the broad strokes of the universe's evolution.

In some ways, the story of gravity is also the story of physics, with some of the field's biggest names finding fame by defining the force that ruled their lives. But even after more than 400 years of study, the enigmatic force still lies at the heart of some of the discipline's greatest mysteries.

Today - Scientists - Forces - Things - Object

Today, scientists know of four forces — things that attract (or repel) one object to (or from) another. The strong force and the weak force operate only inside the centers of atoms. The electromagnetic force rules objects with excess charge (like electrons, protons, and socks shuffling over a fuzzy carpet), and gravity steers objects with mass.

The first three forces largely escaped humanity's notice until recent centuries, but people have long speculated about gravity, which acts on everything, from raindrops to cannonballs. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers observed that objects naturally moved toward the ground, but it would take a flash of insight from Isaac Newton to elevate gravity from an inscrutable tendency of objects to a measurable and predictable phenomenon.

Newton - Leap - Treatise - Philosophiæ - Naturalis

Newton's leap, which became public in his 1687 treatise Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, was to realize that every object in the universe — from a grain of sand to the largest stars — pulled on every other object. This notion unified events that appeared totally unrelated, from apples falling to Earth (although it probably didn't...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Space.com
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