Life

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 20: Gravity

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gravityWow, do I love gravity.

One of the fundamental forces of the universe, gravity pulls us altogether. Well, I suppose not so much on a day-to-day basis, but gravity does make it possible for us to have a planet to stand on, and it makes it possible for the planet to orbit our star, and the star to circle the galaxy, and all of that to be there in the first place.

Gravity is neat; gravity is fun. You can play with gravity, exercising your right to science. If you push fast enough in one direction, you might get your plane or other vehicle to resist gravity for a while. Actually, there are plane rides you can take to experience an actual lack of gravity for twenty or thirty seconds at a time. You can have just a taste of that if you jump at the right time in an elevator, or go over the top of a sharp hill in a fast car. You can measure gravity and you can test gravity, and you don’t need a lot of equipment to do it, scientific or otherwise.

Gravity was supposedly surprising news, but people knew it was there before Newton, just not so much mathematically. These days, it’s something you learn about as a science before you leave high school, a lots of people, students and professors and scientists and engineers, think about it all the time.

Gravity drops off with the square of the distance between the objects you’re considering, but never quite goes away. Very gently but very firmly, it attracts every object in the universe to every other object in the universe. Which means there’s a teeny, tiny force of gravitational attraction between you and I right now, wherever either of us are. It might not be measurable with our most sensitive instruments, and it’s certainly an absurdly tiny fraction of what either of us might consider an actual force, that changes nothing. It’s real, and it’s there.

And that’s pretty cool.

Be well, everyone.

 

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