Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

Why are gravity and quantum mechanics incompatible with each other? Why can't they be combined into a single formula or concept?

Nick Smith, Fargo, North Dakota
RELATED TOPICS: GRAVITY | SPACE PHYSICS
Gravity and quantum mechanics are incompatible with each other.
Your questions touch on a fundamental (some would say the fundamental) problem in theoretical physics. The easiest way to understand the issue is to think about how the two theories describe the forces of nature.

The general theory of relativity is our best concept of gravity. It states that the presence of mass distorts the space-time grid, like a bowling ball that sits on a stretched rubber sheet. Particles then move in the shortest paths along that distorted grid, a process we interpret as the effects of gravity. Thus, relativity, in essence, gives a geometric interpretation of gravity.

Astronomy magazine subscribers can read the full answer for free. Just make sure you're registered with the website.

Already a subscriber? Register now!

Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on Astronomy.com, please log in below.
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
BoxProductcovernov

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook

Loading...