Science fiction, science fact: What is space?

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In the latest online poll of our Science fiction, science fact project you told us that you'd like an answer to this question. Here are two Plus articles exploring the nature of space and we also bring you two articles from FQXi who are our partners on this project. Happy reading!

What is space? — Space is the stage on which physics happens. It's unaffected by what happens inside it and it would still be there if everything in it disappeared. This is how we learn to think about space at school. But the idea is as novel as it is out-dated.

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Quantum geometry — One of the many strange ideas from quantum mechanics is that space isn't continuous but consists of tiny chunks. Ordinary geometry is useless when it comes to dealing with such a space, but algebra makes it possible to come up with a model of spacetime that might do the trick.

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Melting spacetime — To understand how spacetime might have emerged in the early cosmos we need to heat up the equations, and thaw the space and time dimensions. This article, which first appeared on the FQXi community website, explains.

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Ripping apart Einstein — This article from the FQXi community website explores how cutting the threads of the spacetime fabric and reinstating the aether could lead to a theory of quantum gravity.