“Defying” Gravity?

See on Scoop.itStarman’s Meanderings

It really annoys me to hear people say that someone is defying the “Law of Gravity.” You cannot defy gravity, you can only work within its bounds. You can apply sufficient force in the opposite direction to compensate for gravity, or even surpass it in a given direction. You can lift a cup, walk across the ground, climb stairs against the force of gravity, jump up in the air, or even fly. But in my mind that is not “defying” it, which to me at least carries a bit of human arrogance. When you do these, you are simply working within the limits it allows. You can travel to space to experience “weightlessness,” but you still are under the influence of gravity. The net force of gravity can approach zero, not by defying it, but by arranging opposing sources of gravity of equal strength.


At some point between galaxies, an astronaut would not experience gravity, and hence would feel “weightless,” but gravity is still there. Astronauts in the ISS are pulled with about 90% of the force of gravity they feel at the planet’s surface. In fact, gravity is “universal,” which means that even if you traveled as far as the farthest galaxy, you would never completely remove yourself from Earth’s gravitational field (nor that of any other object in the Universe).


You can hold up your hand to shield yourself from the Sun, or tunnel deep underground where none but neutrinos dare, but gravity is still there. You cannot shield it. It is the most pervasive aspect of existence.


You may think I am just being picky, and I am. But I think a little more clarity in language might help avoid some of the many, many misconceptions people have today about science and other aspects of life. You can defy your parents, your boss or your government. But you can’t defy gravity. It’s the law.


About Starman

Cosmic Awareness Facilitator. Astronomy, space, physics, science, planets, cosmology, reason, logic, clouds, sky phenomena, the environment, dogs and other animals, and other interesting stuff.
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