There’s no Such Thing as Gravity:
The World Just Sucks!

A slightly different approach to general relativity
for high school physics students

By Mark Sowers

Chapter 6:
Gradients, Motion, and Acceleration

Back in chapter 1 we discussed the concept of a gradient, where some property changes gradually over a distance. In that case we were talking about temperature gradients where the temperature changed gradually as height increased above a hot surface. In this case we have a time gradient. The rate at which time flows gradually changes with height.

Remember that at the top of the tower, time flows approximately 0.00000000000000245 times faster than it does at the bottom. At half that height, the difference is half of 0.00000000000000245 (small, but not zero). At half that height again, the difference is half again (but not zero). As we get to smaller and smaller distances, the difference in the rate that time flows gets smaller and smaller, but never reaches zero.

So what happens at really small distances, like the distance across an atom, or the distance across a proton, or the distance across a quark? The differences in the rate at which time flows gets smaller and smaller, but never reach zero.

Imagine inside the rock, within an atom, an electron is whirling around the nucleus in a circle. (I’m using the classical-mechanics model here, so the analogy breaks a little. The quantum-mechanics model describes this even better.[2]) It is the electron’s kinetic energy that keeps it moving around this circle. Sometimes the electron is moving ‘up’ one side of the atom and sometimes it is moving ‘down’ the other side of the atom.

When the electron moves down, it is moving into a region where time flows more slowly. Because time is slower, the electron must physically slow down. It must move more slowly relative to how it was moving before in order to maintain the same ratio of distance/time (the speed of light). In order to slow down it must give up some of its kinetic energy. Since the electron is moving downward at the time, that extra downward kinetic energy is transferred to the entire atom system, accelerating it downward.

When that electron turns and moves back ‘up’ the other side of the atom, it moves into a region where time flows more quickly. As it does, it must physically speed up. It must move faster relative to how it moved before in order to maintain the same ratio of distance/time. In order to speed up it must absorb kinetic energy in the upward direction from the entire atom system, causing the whole atom to decelerate in the upward direction.

It’s more than just electrons doing this. A proton is made up of three quarks, each moving around the other two in a continuous dance. Each quark experiences the same time-gradient that the electron felt (to a smaller extent but still not zero). Each quark therefore releases energy to the atom when moving downward and absorbs energy from the atom when moving upward.

This 'exchange' of energy between the components of an atom and the atom system itself is so small that no one would ever notice it. But if you add that tiny acceleration from every electron, proton, and neutron, from every quark, each moving at the speed of light, exchanging just a tiny bit of energy on every pass, it adds up to a significant effect. The atom itself begins to move in a downward direction.

The faster the atom moves downward, the more energy each electron, proton, quark, etc. must release on each pass. The result is a constant acceleration in the downward direction, not from any external force acting on the atom, but from forces within the atom itself responding to changes in the rate that time flows.

Now imaging throwing a ball up into the air and than catching it. When you throw the ball, you give it kinetic energy. As it moves into a region of ‘faster’ time, all the components of all the atoms of that ball speed up by absorbing kinetic energy from the ball itself. At the top of the arc, all of its kinetic energy is stored within the atoms of the ball; similar to the way a flywheel stores kinetic energy.

Even though the ball itself may stop moving for just an instant at the top of the arc, all the components of the atoms are still moving through a time-gradient at the speed of light. This causes them to release their energy in a downward direction and the ball accelerates towards the ground.

Remember from chapter 1 that the magnet we held above our heads didn’t generate an electromagnetic wave until we moved it. A wire won’t generate electricity until we move it through a magnetic field (a magnetic gradient). Similarly each election, proton and quark won’t experience acceleration downward unless they move through a time-gradient.

This also explains why gravity is only a force of attraction-only while electricity and magnetism are forces of both attraction and repulsion. Electricity and magnetism are bi-polar. They have two opposite states. An electric or magnetic ‘field’ is simply a gradient between these two states. Time is not bi-polar. Time flows in only one direction.[3] It may flow quickly or it may flow slowly, but it always flows forward. Therefore any mass within a time gradient can only accelerate in one direction, towards slower time.

Here’s a question that I’ll only raise but won’t answer here because it is beyond the scope of this paper. If we have a uni-polar force (gravity), and a bi-polar force (the electro-weak force), is the other force (the strong nuclear force) tri-polar?


[2] Quantum theory tells us that the electron does not specifically exist at any one location. Instead there is a cloud of high probability where the election will be located. Because the cloud of probability has spacial extent, there is a time gradient across the cloud.

Lets draw an imaginary horizontal plane halfway through this cloud. This plane marks the ‘center’ of the cloud. Statistically the electron should exist above this plane just as often as it exists below this plane. But because of the time gradient, time flows more slowly below the plane than above. This means that the electron will ‘exist’ for slightly longer periods of time below the plane than above it.

But if the electron exists below the plane longer than above it, the plane is no longer in the center. The center of the cloud is shifted downward. The center of mass of the electron has been accelerated downward.

Of course the process then repeats, where we draw a new plane, which becomes the new center of the cloud. But in the time-gradient the electron now exists for even longer below this new plane, which means the plane continues to be accelerated downward.


[3] leaving string theory and other higher-level mathematical theories aside for now