Imagination and Mathematics – Observations from the Spaceship

There are no limits to imagination. Consider an apple falling from a tree. What presses or draws the apple downwards? Gravity, you say. Well, imagine gravity then.

There are many ways to think about gravity. For example, one may consider space itself to be a kind of fabric, which is fastened to some structure such that a body of mass lying on top of it will distort it (see image 1 or click here). Alternatively, what drives gravity may be a particle racing back and forth between the apple and the Earth to inform both that they should attract each other.

Did you catch the nuances in how they talk about this in the videos? If not, go ahead and click on the links once more. Physics is about facts, isn’t it? Do they talk about facts? Many people think exactly that, because both ways of explaining gravity have been used so often that it is easy to believe them to betruth, instead of describing truth, which, in fact, they do not actually do very well. For example, think only about how we live in a three-dimensional world, while our piece of fabric is two-dimensional.

This is a part from a longer article, split in four. Click the links below to read all four parts:

  


Alexander Biebricher, Ph.D. is a scientist who now holds the position of Physicist and Chief Science Officer at the Spaceship Aurora Visitor’s Center at Andøya Space Center in Northern Norway. You can follow Alexander on Twitter, Facebook and Google +.

Meet a Scientist – While visiting Spaceship Aurora, there is also the opportunity to have a chat with a scientist to take a deep dive into the amazing science behind aurora. Read more.