The structure of spacetime is a conceptual model that combines the three dimensions of space with the fourth dimension of time. According to the best current physical theories, spacetime explains the unusual relativistic effects that result from travel near the speed of light as well as movement.
Who Discovered Space Time?
The famous physicist Albert Einstein helped develop the idea of spacetime as part of his theory of relativity. Before their pioneering work, scientists had two different theories to explain physical phenomena: Isaac Newton’s laws of physics described the motion of massive objects, while James Clerk Maxwell’s electromagnetic models explained the properties of light, acc. to NASA.
But Expirements conducted at the end of 19th century suggested that light was special is. Speed whatever happens. And in 1898 the French physicist and mathematician Henri Poincaré thought that the speed of light could be an insurmountable limit. Around the same time, other researchers were considering the possibility that the size and mass of objects could change depending on their speed.
Einstein brought all these ideas together in his special theory of relativity, published in 1905, which postulated that the speed of light is constant. For this, space and time had to be combined into a single image in order to keep the speed of light the same for all observers.
A person in a superfast rocket measures the time to move slower and the length of objects to be shorter. compared to a person who travels much slower. Because space and time are relative, they depend on the speed of the observer. But the speed of light is more fundamental than either. Einstein came alone. This idea comes from the German mathematician Hermann Minkowski, who said in a colloquium in 1908: “From now on, space alone and time alone are condemned to disappear into mere shadows and to be just a kind of union of the two to preserve an independent reality
The spacetime he described is still known as Minkowski spacetime and serves as the background for calculations in both relativity and quantum field theory. As fields, according to astrophysicist and science writer Ethan Siegel How Spacetime Works Today, when talking about the They often describe spacetime as a rubber sheet.
How Space Time Works
This also comes from Einstein, who, when developing his general theory of relativity, realized that gravity was due to curves in the structure of space time and the distortions in spacetime that these curves cause, in turn, limit the way everything in the universe moves moves because objects must follow paths along this curved curvature. Movement due to gravity is actually movement through the twists and turns of space-time.
In 2011, the Gravity Probe B (GPB) probe measured the shape of the space-time vortex around Earth and found it to be in close agreement with Einstein’s predictions.
But a lot of it remains difficult for most people to understand. Similar to a rubber sheet, the analogy eventually collapses. A rubber sheet is two-dimensional while space-time is four-dimensional. The sheet not only depicts deformations in space, but also deformations in time. The complex equations that account for all of this are difficult to handle, even for physicists.
“Einstein built a beautiful machine, but he didn’t exactly leave us an instruction manual,” wrote astrophysicist Paul Sutter “To emphasize the point, general relativity is so complex that someone who discovers a solution to equations gets the solution by name and becomes semi-legendary himself.
What Scientists Still Don’t Know
Despite its complexity, the theory of relativity is still the best way to explain the physical phenomena known to us that their models are incomplete because relativity is not yet fully in line with quantum mechanics, which make the properties of subatomic Particles explained with extreme precision, but not taking gravity into account.
Quantum mechanics is based on the fact that the small particles that make up the universe are photons, the particles that make up light, like small pieces of light that are in different packages.
Some theorists have speculated that space-time itself may also appear in these quantized fragments and help connect relativity and quantum mechanics. European Space Agency researchers proposed the Gammaray International Astronomy Laboratory for the Quantum Exploration of Space Time (GrailQuest) mission, which would orbit our planet and make ultra-precise measurements of distant and powerful explosions known as Gammaray eruptions, revealing nature could. near spacetime.
Such a mission wouldn’t start for at least a decade and a half, but if it did, it could help solve some of physics’ greatest remaining puzzles.
- Einstein’s space-time on Stanford University’s Gravity Probe B.
- Watch: “Are Space and Time An Illusion?” From PBS Space Time.