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Physics/regarding space

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QUESTION: Hi,

What is exactly Space which physicists refer to? Does Space specifically refer to a place where there is no atoms? Is the atmosphere over the earth can be called as "Space". I read that Space could be curved around the earth, is that true? If true, what makes a place with no atoms or anything to get curved?

Regards

ANSWER: Typically 'Space' is a label scientists use to denote the area between the outer atmosphere of planets and stars. Space itself can have lots of atoms.  However, the place between solar systems and galaxies is often called 'deep space' - places where there are very, very few atoms are referred to as 'hard vacuum' environments... this includes most of deep space, but man-made chambers are capable of generating this type of environment as well.  In a general sense, we define distance in terms of the time and energy it takes to get from one place to another.  There is much evidence that the time and energy required to move around near large chunks of matter (like the planet or the sun) is different than in Space which is far from strong gravity. This causes us to call the area around gravitational centers to be 'curved'.  As for your last question, that's tricky.  A good way to think about it is that all space is a little warped... the less stuff you have in a region - the less warped it is.  The more stuff you have, the more warped it is.  

If you need more info, let me know and I will send you plenty of links to sights that can cover these topics better than me.

Take care!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your reply.

>> A good way to think about it is that all space is a little warped... the less stuff you have in a region - the less warped it is.  The more stuff you have, the more warped it is.

I could not understand why all space got warped by default. what makes the space to get warped?

Are the space inside the atoms also warped?

Are there experimental evidences to prove that space is warped?

Please send links too.

Regards.

Answer
Gravity (or in other words 'stuff') existing in the universe results in space-time warping.
Inside atoms: yes
Evidence: yes, see below

The reading is gets heavier the further down this list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_general_relativity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity
http://www.hawking.org.uk/space-and-time-warps.html
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~kip/scripts/PubScans/VI-47.pdf

Let me know if you need more.

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Dr. Jeffery Raymond

Expertise

Materials chemistry. Materials science. Spectroscopy. Polymer science. Physical Chemistry. General Physics. Technical writing. General Applied Mathematics. Nanomaterials. Optoelectronic Behavior. Science Policy.

Experience

Teaching: General Inorganic Chemistry I & II, Organic Chemistry I & II, Physical Chemistry I, Polymeric Materials, General Physics I, Calculus I & II
My prior experience includes the United States Army and three years as a development chemist in industry. Currently I am the Assistant Director of the Laboratory for Synthetic Biological Interactions. All told, 13 years of experience in research, development and science education.

Organizations
Texas A&M University, American Chemical Society, POLY-ACS, SPIE

Publications
Journal of the American Chemical Society, Nanoletters, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, Ultramicroscopy Proceedings of SPIE, Proceedings of MRS, Polymer News, Chemical and Engineering News, Nano Letters, Small, Chemistry.org, Angewandte

Education/Credentials
PhD Macromolecular Science and Engineering (Photophysics/Nanomaterials Concentration), MS Materials Science, BS Chemistry and Physics, Graduate Certificate in Science Policy, AAS Chemical Technology, AAS Engineering Technology

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