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Math Help - The universe is flat, what does this mean for gravity?

  1. #1
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    The universe is flat, what does this mean for gravity?

    So physicists are 99.6% certain the universe is flat, not flat as in 2D but as in no curvature. If this is true does this mean that stars and planets ect do not cause a "dent" or curve in space-time? Much like the trampoline example describes gravity and the distortion in space-time?

    Einstein proposed that stars and planets cause curves in the space fabric, but if the universe is flat that means there are no curves which means that stars ect do not act like the trampoline example.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by uperkurk; July 3rd 2013 at 04:27 AM.
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  2. #2
    MHF Contributor ebaines's Avatar
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    Re: The universe is flat, what does this mean for gravity?

    I think you are confusing two different concepts. First, Einstein's theory of general relativity is still considered valid - gravity is considered to be the effect of a local curvature of space-time. But the comological discussions about open, closed, or flat are "global" issues - having to do with whether Euclidian geometry applies on grand scales across the universe. It's a little dangerous to use everyday analogies, but it's a bit like the difference between the surface of a golf ball - which is closed but with dimples on it - versus a trampoline with some bowling balls scattered on its surface - which is flat on the large scale but has local deformations.
    Last edited by ebaines; July 3rd 2013 at 06:17 AM.
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