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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mitchell's CliffNotes of CMR

     What is gravity, really?  Okay, it made the apple fall off the tree and bonk Sir Isaac Newton’s head. It makes everything fall back to Earth. There have been a lot of theories for gravity, but the most plausible is relativity. Relativity incorporates many concepts, and conveniently, one of them is gravity. Albert Einstein, the creator of General and Special Relativity, made one of the two variations of relativity, STR (Space-Time Relativity). In STR, space and time are one; a fourth dimension, if you will. In this theory, an invisible “blanket”, called the space-time continuum, is the medium in which relativity works. The more massive an object is, the more it causes a depression in the “blanket”. If a watermelon is the sun and a blanket is the space-time continuum, then if you put the watermelon on the blanket it causes a depression proportional to its mass. Furthermore, an object with mass less than or equal to another object’s mass will be gravitationally attracted toward that object if it’s close enough. If I were to put an orange on the blanket, it would cause a depression proportional to its mass, and if close enough would roll towards the watermelon. An apple is less massive than our planet, and it is definitely close enough to have a gravitational attraction to Earth. If it’s attracted it will move towards the Earth’s center, so when the tree’s branches become too weak, gravity takes over.
     Should we believe in this theory? After all, it is very plausible. I loved it until Black Friday came along. I went to Brookline to visit my grandfather, Grandpa Charles, and his wife, Martha. I also met a guy whose parents were told by his grade school teacher he was “feeble-minded” (He ended up graduating at Harvard University and becoming a professor there.). I thought STR was the only theory of relativity until Grandpa Charles told me otherwise at Panera. In 2008, a man named Edward Apgar created a new theory of relativity explaining gravity called CMR (Charge-Mass Relativity). I thought STR was the only theory of relativity there was, so I didn’t bother calling it STR. I just called it relativity. But apparently a new theory of relativity was created four years ago. I couldn’t believe I had first learned about the old relativity rather than the one. After all, CMR was out by the time I started learning about quantum mechanics (I did not start learning about physics when I was six!). Well, here is the story of CMR in “English”.
      An atom has a center ball of particles called a nucleus. The particles in the nucleus are the neutrally charged neutrons and the positively charged protons, which have a charge of about 1/2 (never mind the unit of measurement). Circling the nucleus are the negatively charged electrons, which have a charge opposite of the protons, equal to about -1/2. There are an equal amount of protons as there are electrons in an atom, so they should balance each other out giving the atom a neutral charge. Just like the same sides of a magnet repel each other, an electron-electron combo repel each other and a proton-proton pair repel each other. Also just like opposite sides of two magnets attract, an electron-proton pair or a proton-electron pair attract each other. In fact, magnets make use of protons and electrons. If two hydrogen atoms are near each other, each with one proton and one electron, they should not exert any attractions except gravitational attractions. The reason the atoms don’t repel because of the proton in atom 1 and the proton in atom 2 or the two electrons is because of the electric attractions. What about the proton in atom 1 combined with the electron in atom 2 or vice versa? These forces balance each other out. Done! Who needs CMR! Who even cares! Wait a second. Since when can we just assume that the attractive and repulsion forces are equal?! “Duhhhhh”, one might say. Duh what? That’s a nice assumption but physics isn’t perfect like that. Mr. Apgar found that the attractive forces between those atoms is slightly greater than the repulsion forces. This is an attraction, and gravity is an attraction. Essentially what my grandfather was saying was that gravity is not a force on its own, but rather a side effect of electric forces between atoms. And to finish it off, he whipped out a photocopy of the very CMR paper itself. This proves he isn’t just some guy making up some lunatic theory. He’s even met Mr. Apgar himself and PAM Dirac, one of the greatest physicists of all time. And by the way, my lack of updating has been inexcusable, even with my business. My next entry will be much sooner.