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Name: Unknown
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: LA
Country: N/A
Date: 10/31/2005


Question:
Are there any other scientist who made contributions to the law of gravity besides Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein?


Replies:
Hi!

As is usual in science, many people contribute to the understanding of any physics topic, but one or a few names are generally associated with the accepted theory. This is certainly true of the theory of gravitation. Although Newton and Einstein are the best-known names, many others contributed. For example Robert H. Dick and Carl Brans developed a viable alternative theory of gravitation called the Brans-Dicke theory.

The possibility that stars could collapse to form black holes was first theoretically "discovered" in 1939 by J. Robert Oppenheimer and Hartland Snyder, who were manipulating the equations of Einstein's general relativity. Einstein himself did not believe in black holes.

Many other scientists have contributed to our understanding of gravitation and continue to do so. Our understanding is still far from complete and many of the best minds in science are working on the problem.

Best, Dick Plano, Professor of Physics emeritus, Rutgers University


Gravity is the object of much research -- applications, experimental, and theoretical. In the applications area there are sensitive instruments that measure the "local" acceleration of gravity. So geologists, and other Earth scientists can make a "gravity" map of the Earth. This can even be done by satellite. The more dense the matter at a particular location, the greater is the local acceleration of gravity. These measurements are very sensitive and provide data about the Earth's structure at the particular location where the measurement is made.

In the areas of experimental and theoretical behavior of gravity, the number of researchers is far too long to list here. Gravity is the least well understood of the forces of nature which makes it the study of a lot of basic research. The web sites below will give you a start to study on your own, some of the many facets of research on gravity.

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/string_systems_030226.html

http://www.tamu.edu/univrel/aggiedaily/news/stories/01/020601-5.html

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/ParticleAndNuclear/antimatterFall.html

http://van.hep.uiuc.edu/van/qa/section/Making_Stuff_Move/Gravity/944712190.htm

http://www.astronomycafe.net/gravity/gravity.html

Vince Calder



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