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Physics > Space

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From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, by MultiMedia

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The definition of space in physics is contentious. Various concepts used to try to define space have included:

  • the structure defined by the set of "spatial relationships" between objects

  • a manifold defined by a coordinate system where an object can be located.

  • the entity that stops all objects in the universe from touching one another

In classical physics, space is a three-dimensional Euclidean space where any position can be described using three coordinates. Relativistic physics examines spacetime rather than space; spacetime is modeled as a four-dimensional manifold.

Philosophical questions concerning space include: Is space absolute or purely relational? Does space have one correct geometry, or is the geometry of space just a convention? Historical Eminences who have taken sides in these debates include Isaac Newton (space is absolute), Gottfried Leibniz (space is relational), and Henri Poincaré (spatial geometry is a convention).

Two important thought-experiments connected with these questions are: Newton's bucket argument and Poincaré's disc-world.

See also: Philosophy of physics

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Physics Help, made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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