Piero Scaruffi(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"
Einstein’s equations described more than just the interaction between two bodies (like Newton’s gravitational equations did): they described the very story of the universe. One could play that film backwards or forward, and derive how the universe used to be or what it will be like.
Einstein briefly toyed with the idea of a “cosmological constant”. He was not happy to discover that his equations predicted a universe in continuous turmoil (and most likely doomed to collapse under the effect of gravitation), so he introduced a constant in his equations to counterbalance gravitation (basically, a sort of “anti-gravity”)and make the universe static. When in 1929 Edwin Hubble showed that the universe is expanding, Einstein realized that the turmoil was real and decided that there was no need for his cosmological constant.
Density of mass plays a crucial role in Einstein’s equations: the denser the mass, the bigger the warp it causes to space-time, the stronger the gravitational effect felt by nearby matter. Thus collapsing stars are particularly relevant objects in Einstein’s universe. In 1967, the first “pulsar” was observed: a rapidly-spinning collapsed star.
Shortly after Einstein published his gravitational field equation, in 1916 the German physicist Karl Schwarzschild found a solution that determines the gravitational field for any object, given its mass and its size. That solution goes to infinity for a specific ratio between mass and size: basically, if the object is dense enough (lots of mass in a tiny size), the gravitational attraction it generates is infinite. Nothing, not even light, can escape this object, which was therefore named "black hole" (by John Wheeler). And everything that gets near it is doomed to fall into it, and be trapped in it forever.
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