Electromagnatism and space-time

By Scott Hamilton

Senior Expert Emerging Technologies

For serval generations scientists have struggled to come with a theory of electromagnetism that meshed with Einstein’s theory of relativity.  Albert Einstein’s theories explained that magnetic and electromagnetic fields induce curves in space-time. He theorized that because matter carries energy objects have a gravitational field and they will distort space-time. Magnetic fields are created by the motion of subatomic particles, electrons and protons, when traveling within solid objects, like wires, the electrons are believed to be passed from one molecule to another, but where the theory begins to break down is when these electromagnetic waves travel through the air, or even through the vacuum of space.

There are no particles in space to pass the electrons around and no materials to carry a vibration, so it seems impossible for the electromagnetic waves to travel through space.  Over the years there have been a lot of different theories to explain the propagation of waves through both vacuums and materials. However, all we really know is that we can take a large antenna on earth, charge it with a large electrical charge and rapidly change the charge on the antenna, this in turn will create a wave, that can be picked as an electrical “vibration” on other antennas hundreds of thousands of miles away. We use these electromagnetic waves to control rovers on Mars, but we still do not fully understand the mechanics of how they propagate.

The latest theory released earlier this year proposes an interesting hypothesis. In the 19th century =, scholars though that the waves traveled through an elusive medium, which they called aether. This theory was abandoned and the classical theory of electronmagnetism still does not provide us with answers as to how the transfer of energy from one antenna to another works. However, Einstein was able to clearly explain with a set mathematical formula how gravity works and the theory holds true. 

The theory of general relativity explains that energy and mass tell the space-time how to curve and the space-time tells masses how to move. The ultimate goal of gravity is to bring all mass together in a single location or entity. Many have tried to apply the same theories to magnetic fields and found that it does not really work out very well. The Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla thought that electromagnetism contained everything in our universe, I tend to believe the opposite that everything in our universe is held together by electromagnetism.  The latest theories believe that there is a direct relationship between gravity and magnetism.

Researchers Jussi Lindgren and Jukka Liukkonen have proposed that both Einstein’s equations for gravitation fields and Maxwell’s equations that describe electromagnetism are both linear partial differential equations and appear to be closely related, upon close mathematical examination they discovered that Maxwell’s equations hide inside Einstein’s field equations and Einstein’s equations are actually a special case of Maxwell’s equations.  This relationship has lead the group of researchers to believe that electromagnetic fields are the underlying cause of the curvature in space-time that allows gravity to work.

There is much research to be done to begin to prove the theory and among the research topics in the measurement of gravitational fields and space-time curvature in the presence of large magnetic fields. If the theory holds magnetism can be used to distort space-time and would bring about great advancements in engineering.  The beauty of their theory is that it brings with it the benefit of simplicity as prior theories required extra dimensions, torsion tensors, asymmetric tensors and the like to explain the theory whereas this new theory can be explained with much simpler linear equations.  It seems like something straight out of Star Trek, the bending of space-time to achieve warp drive (travel faster than the speed of light) by bringing distant object closer through the bending of space.

Until next week stay safe and learn something new.

Scott Hamilton is a Senior Expert in Emerging Technologies at ATOS and can be reached with questions and comments via email to scott.hamilton@atos.net or through his website at https://www.techshepherd.org

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