• Question: Can you generate gravity

    Asked by the waffle man to Alice, Bose, Christian, Emma, Steve on 16 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Steve Marsden

      Steve Marsden answered on 16 Mar 2016:

      All mass generates a gravitational field. If you want an object to have a bigger gravitational field, you just need to add more mass to it.

      In addition, energy generates a gravitational field… though to a much lower extent. If you wanted an object to have a bigger gravitational field, you could make it hotter.

      The amount by which energy increases the gravitational field is absolutely tiny, and can be neglected in most situations.

      A black hole is an object where the gravitational field is so strong, nothing can escape from it, not even light. In the LHC, one of the things we are trying to do is to make micro black holes. We do this not by having a lot of mass in one place, but by having a lot of energy in one place.

      (Quick disclaimer. If we manage to make micro black holes, they would not be dangerous. They would evaporate almost instantly, popping out of existence. This is because a black hole needs to be larger than a certain size in order for it to be stable.)

    • Photo: Emma Dean

      Emma Dean answered on 16 Mar 2016:

      Yes! Gravity is an acceleration. So artificial gravity can be created.

      Gravitational effects can be made using linear acceleration, the force that pushes you backwards when accelerating forwards (like what happens when you are in a car as it speeds up), and centripetal forces, the force that pushes outwards when you are being spun around (like going round a roundabout in a car).