Gravitational Engineering is, simply put, the manipulation of gravity through means other than the movement of masses. In order to understand how this would be possible one must first begin to understand the nature of gravity. What is it? How does it work? In 1916, Einstein came up with his theory of gravity called General Relativity. In GR gravitation is no longer a force acting through space, from one mass to another, but rather a local effect. That is to say a massive object creates a curvature of space and time. Objects then follow the geodesics of this warped geometry. As John Archibald Wheeler put it "mass tells space how to curve, and space tells mass how to move"
The second major theory to come about in this
time period is Quantum Mechanics.
A theory describing the nature of matter and energy at small distance scales.
In quantum mechanics we no longer talk about particles having definite position
and momentum, rather we deal with probabilities. The
behaviour of matter is governed by the Schrödinger wave
equation in the non relativistic case, and
quantum field theory
in the relativistic one. Without going into the details surrounding both of
these theories it sufficient to say that they have contradictory viewpoints
when it comes to gravity. Quantum field theory roughly describes forces as an
exchange of virtual particles,whereas gravitation is described as being purely
geometric. The recasting of relativity theory in light of the quantum description
is one of the major challenges of modern physics. Out of the unification of
quantum theory and general relativity will come a new understanding of the fundamental
nature of space and time. Once we begin to understand the interaction between
geometry and matter it is hoped that we can control it.
It is the goal of this Institute to bring together researchers and scientists from around the world in pursuit of this knowledge and to seek what benefits can be gained by it.