Gravity and Me

I watched Jim Al-Khalili’s television programme “Gravity and Me” last night. A fair bit of it wasn’t really news to me though the actual illustration of the change in gravitational attraction as altitude and latitude change was rather nice. And it’s always good to see the clip of the hammer and feather being dropped on the Moon during the Apollo 15 mission.

What really piqued my interest however was a short piece at the end of the programme covering a proposal by an American scientist that our perception of gravity is actually the result of masses “trying” to move to a state where time passes most slowly. It’s a strange idea that I’ve not heard before and I’ll have to try to dig up some more information about it. I can’t help being struck by similar ideas elsewhere in physics. For instance, electrons giving up energy to fall to a lower state in an atom, giving out energy as (say) visible light in the process. Perhaps a mass might “fall” to a state where time passes more slowly, turning potential energy into kinetic energy as it does so.

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