Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Clifford suggested matter could curve space

A new paper:
Almost half a century before Einstein expounded his general theory of relativity, the English mathematician William Kingdon Clifford argued that space might not be Euclidean and proposed that matter is nothing but a small distortion in that spatial curvature. He further proposed that matter in motion is not more than the simple variation in space of this distortion. In this work, we conjecture that Clifford went further than his aforementioned proposals, as he tried to show that matter effectively curves space. For this purpose he made an unsuccessful observation on the change of the plane of polarization of the skylight during the solar eclipse of December 22, 1870 in Sicily.
I have wondered why some people credit Clifford, and this article spells it out. He was way ahead of everyone with the idea that our physical space might be non-Euclidean, as an explanation for gravity.


  1. How exactly does one curve an empty volume? Space is not matter or energy, it is a volume. To 'curve' something, it must have some tensile property capable of being acted upon mechanically...which space simply does not have. Space curvature is Einstein's attempt to avoid the action at a distance dilemma of posed by Newtonian gravity, but it creates a bigger problem than it purportedly resolves, namely, the reliance on Math to be the cause of your heavy lifting, or physics. Thing is, Math doesn't 'do' anything, nor does it mysteriously carry forces, inform mass, or allow inexplicable magical miracles because you need one in order for your theory to work. You can create a mathematical space and twist it into a pretzel if you wish since it is all imaginary (i.e. Not real, fabricated), composed entirely of rules which you manipulate. Actual space is not an imaginary mathematical space open to such manipulations, so stop treating like one.

  2. Grassmann and Clifford were true geniuses. Way ahead.