WickedEye's Quotient

2/12/2008 at 07:08

An Appeal With (About) Gravity

It’s 7 am, and I’m eating blackberries with raspberry pastry and becoming increasingly frustrated with the shift from composite gravity to the tensor-vector-scalar (TeVeS) version of Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND).

To quote Inigo Montoya: Let me explain. –No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

After a dinner party at Dave’s house and a woefully garbled explanation of alternative gravity theory (actually, not so much that as an explanation of the quantum-mechanical postulation of gravity) to several of my fellow guests, I went and did some revision. Though (thankfully) I seem to be okay on the basics, it turns out that the latest developments in alternative gravity theories (or perhaps just the ones beyond the books I own) are beyond my current grasp of math.

Given the fact that this is advanced physics, that’s perhaps not entirely surprising, but it’s still frustrating- I’m the person whose uncle explained quantum physics to her at age 6 and who picked up her first book on black holes at age 10. My addiction to cosmology goes waaaay back.

Since my beloved internet allows me an open forum to as much of an audience as I can gather, I’ve decided to make an appeal for knowledge- or rather, tutelage.

The concepts behind MOND’s and TeVeS’ conception of gravity (and yes, I’m aware that it overlaps but does not subsume alternative gravity) are befuddling me utterly. My incomprehension turns on my inability to grasp the concept of tensors and tensor fields, including those in ranks 1 through 4- once I can parse that, I should be able to visualize the rest. Therefore, I need someone who will correspond with me on that question until I understand it.

Such tuition may include not only explanations but references to books and graphics that can help. (And just to save some time- before you ask, I’ve already checked Wikipedia links and the Physicsforums archives on MOND, TeVeS, tensors, tensor fields, and almost every topic under any of those headings you can name.)

And if anyone reading this can’t explain but knows someone who can- could you pass on this appeal? I can’t say this won’t take long, because I have no idea of the length of time it will take me to understand- but I can say that the linear time investment on the part of my tutor will be relatively small.

Thanks in advance, guys. Such knowledge may not be necessary to my continued existence, but it’s enormously frustrating to have such an intricate and magnificent palace of theory, built on such a cosmic scale, standing before me… and be incapable of grasping its loveliness because I don’t know the shape of some of the bricks.

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