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Books by David Michalets

Einstein's Mistakes

With Forces and Light

6 Physics by Space-time

This is section 6 of 12 in the web-book.

Physics is the science of motion and space-time affects motion.

6.1 Basis in relativity

6.1 Postulates of special relativity

There is on reference for these descriptions.
6.1.1 First postulate

The laws of physics take the same form in all inertial frames of reference.
General relativity generalizes special relativity and refines Newton's law of universal gravitation, providing a unified description of gravity as a geometric property of space and time, or space-time. In particular, the curvature of space-time is directly related to the energy and momentum of whatever matter and radiation are present. The relation is specified by the Einstein field equations, a system of partial differential equations. [Reference for both postulates:


6.1.2 Second Postulate

As measured in any inertial frame of reference, light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c that is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body. Or: the speed of light in free space has the same value c in all inertial frames of reference.

As measured in any inertial frame of reference, light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c that is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body. Or: the speed of light in free space has the same value c in all inertial frames of reference.

 the Second Postulate asserts that objects travelling at speed c in one reference frame will necessarily travel at speed c in all reference frames. This postulate is a subset of the postulates that underlie Maxwell's equations in the interpretation given to them in the context of special relativity. However, Maxwell's equations rely on several other postulates, some of which are now known to be false (e.g., Maxwell's equations cannot account for the quantum attributes of electromagnetic radiation).


This description reveals one result of a mistake from Einstein..

 Maxwell's equations cannot account for the quantum attributes of electromagnetic radiation, simply because  light has no quantum attributes.

This mistake is explained in the section Photoelectric Effect.

6.2 Common Interpretation

Some people familiar with relativity repeat the saying, "Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve."

This quote is credited to John Archibald Wheeler.

John Archibald Wheeler was an American theoretical physicist largely responsible for reviving interest in general relativity in the United States after World War II."  [Reference:



His task probably means he was presenting an "interesting'" version for the public, but not one directly from Einstein, who never said that quote.

One learns in a physics class about the important forces of gravity, electric, and magnetic, and the result of acceleration from a force on a mass.

Objects move only by the external forces acting on them.

Objects in the universe do not move as a consequence of a  specific reference frame defined by an observer somewhere in the universe.

Wheeler and those believing his phrase is correct, believe motion is possible with no force. This phrase is not valid physics.

Space-time is only 4 values from the changes in the observer's position describes as changes in x, y, z,and time, where time is expressed as ct, 
These 4 numbers tare used only in relativity and are not a set of dimensions for the universe.

Nothing in the universe is an object subject only to a single gravitational field,
Everything in the universe moves as a result of forces acting on it.
A change in kinetic energy requires a transfer of energy.

The bending of light by space-time has been proposed.
However, the propagation of the synchronized electric and magnetic fields is affected only by the medium, as defined by its diffraction index.
Light will never follow a path affected by gravity. This is explained in section Eddington Experiment.

Space-time cannot be a force having energy to affect a body's kinetic energy.

We are here on Earth and can share our observations using a common coordinate system, like the celestial coordinate system which is used by all astronomers.

Classical physics was grounded in physical space with an established time increment for precise measurements while obtaining valid evidence from experiments to test and verify a theory.

We can measure celestial bodies in motion using our selected coordinate system. They move as affected by external forces.
They do not move only as affected by a gravitational field somewhere in the universe, as proposed by relativity.

Mankind has been observing the universe for a very long time without those bodies following a coordinate system.

6.3 Definition of Spacetime

In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model which fuses the three dimensions of space and the one dimension of time into a single four-dimensional manifold. Spacetime diagrams can be used to visualize relativistic effects, such as why different observers perceive differently where and when events occur.

Until the 20th century, it was assumed that the three-dimensional geometry of the universe (its spatial expression in terms of coordinates, distances, and directions) was independent of one-dimensional time. The physicist Albert Einstein helped develop the idea of spacetime as part of his theory of relativity.

Prior to his pioneering work, scientists had two separate theories to explain physical phenomena: Isaac Newton's laws of physics described the motion of massive objects, while James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic models explained the properties of light.

However, in 1905, Einstein based a work on special relativity on two postulates:

The laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial systems (i.e., non-accelerating frames of reference)
The speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the motion of the light source.
The logical consequence of taking these postulates together is the inseparable joining of the four dimensions—hitherto assumed as independent—of space and time.

Many counterintuitive consequences emerge: in addition to being independent of the motion of the light source, the speed of light is constant regardless of the frame of reference in which it is measured; the distances and even temporal ordering of pairs of events change when measured in different inertial frames of reference (this is the relativity of simultaneity); and the linear additivity of velocities no longer holds true.

Einstein framed his theory in terms of kinematics (the study of moving bodies).

His theory was an advance over Lorentz's 1904 theory of electromagnetic phenomena and Poincaré's electrodynamic theory. Although these theories included equations identical to those that Einstein introduced (i.e., the Lorentz transformation), they were essentially ad hoc models proposed to explain the results of various experiments—including the famous Michelson–Morley interferometer experiment—that were extremely difficult to fit into existing paradigms.

In 1908, Hermann Minkowski—once one of the math professors of a young Einstein in Zürich—presented a geometric interpretation of special relativity that fused time and the three spatial dimensions of space into a single four-dimensional continuum now known as Minkowski space. A key feature of this interpretation is the formal definition of the spacetime interval. Although measurements of distance and time between events differ for measurements made in different reference frames, the spacetime interval is independent of the inertial frame of reference in which they are recorded.

Minkowski's geometric interpretation of relativity was to prove vital to Einstein's development of his 1915 general theory of relativity, wherein he showed how mass and energy curve flat spacetime into a pseudo-Riemannian manifold.
[Reference:  ]


The description begins with an appalling wrong statement.

"Until the 20th century, it was assumed that the three-dimensional geometry of the universe was independent of one-dimensional time. "

The universe does not and cannot have a geometry.

The observer always defines the coordinate system being used for their measurements. By selecting that system with its defined reference point, their measurements can be shared with and repeated by other observers.

All celestial measurements use the celestial coordinate system, which has 2 angular dimensios of declination and Right Ascension.

The common reference point for all observers is the center of the Earth.

The universe has no observed limits. Therefore, it is impossible for the universe to define any viable geometry, independent of an observer.

Sometimes, there are discussions of more dimensions in the universe than 4, with the number 4 coming from the definition of spacetime.

These discussions are worthless.
The observer always selects the coordinate system for a measurement.

In most cases, they will select one that others can select. A common selection enables independent verification of measurements.

The selection is different when

a) in a laboratory, when the simple Euclidean set is used in many cases, or

b)  using a telescope, when the celestial coordinate system is always used.


The fusion of 3 linear dimensions with 1 dimension for time was required to capture the motion of the special observer, so their path could be curved.

Spacetime is just a set of 4 numbers, coming from the change in 4 values from the special observer's reference frame, x, y, z, t. The special observer is moving, so d for delta is used for the names of the variables, as dx, dy, dz, dct (where the time is multiplied by c to get a value having the same units as the other 3.

Spacetime was not defined for an application of defining the geometry of the universe.

6.4 Space-time reference frame in Graphics

Graphical representations of space-time curvature imply there is an underlying coordinate system which affecting motion.

Only the special moving observer has their path distorted in relativity.

Graphical representations of space-time curvature are an intentional deception.

These images do not represent how the universe is observed when on or near the Earth.
We are not a special observer whose path is curved by that remote object's gravitational field. We see everything using our senses and instruments, not hidden within curved space-time.

This unedited image from NASA will help explain this deception. It was captured in 2019, but its page was replaced, so the original image is not on-line.

In relativity, when the special observer is moving near an object with a gravitational field their path will be curved.
This curvature is done in the special observer's reference frame, which is in reference to this observer's current position. As such, no other observer can share that observer's reference frame.

Einstein's first postulate is "The laws of physics take the same form in all inertial frames of reference."

The left column in the image illustrates how the special observer's space-time is curved when they are is passing by the Sun, a white dwarf, or a neutron star.

For all other observers, the Sun, the white dwarf, or the neutron star will be observed using classical physics, such as electromagnetic radiation.

The image is deceptive because there is no distinction between the special observer moving past these objects and all other observers.

One could present an edited image to represent the view for all other observers by simply removing those curved graphics for the observer's space-time.
At the lower left is the legend "distorted space time" explicitly noting the specific context for them in this image.
That edited image removes the deception by showing the real universe, which all observers can observe and measure, and which is not affected by one, special observer's motion past a particular body in physical space.

The right column in the image has the most blatant deception.

The single arrow pointing to "Singularity" is actually pointing to 2 entities.

1) The physical mass at that location in physical space,

This mass is not shown here though each mass was shown in the left column.
The image could be edited as suggested to remove the graphs from the respective columns; then the mass should be shown here, consistent with the others, to help fix the deception for all observers other than the one moving (i.,e., non-inertial).

2) A point in the observer's reference frame or coordinate system.

The point is not in the image simply because a point has no size.

In basic geometry, the intersection of 2 lines is a point. The point is a specific coordinate in the coordinate system; a simple example of a point in 3-D is X1,Y2, Z3.

In the mathematical exercise of space-time curvature for an extreme mass, The special observer's path will curve to the center of the massive object. In the real world this is a collision.
In relativity, the mass disappears and the path must terminate at the point, with no escape.

The path ends at a point called the singularity.

This singularity is called a black hole though technically it is a black point. There is no hole in anything; it is just a point in a coordinate system, the intersection of lines, defined by Euclid.

The deceptive graphic hides this illogical conclusion for physics with two simultaneous conflicting entities where one entity is a geometric  concept, or just a point in a coordinate system, while the other is a physical mass.

For all other observers the mass is present and can be observed and measured and as a mass it is still subject to the force of gravity from other bodies.

Physicists chose to combine these two conflicting entities, resulting in something physically impossible.

The singularity is claimed to retain the mass and its gravitational field. However, this point has no size so the result is a gravitational field coming from a mass having infinite density.

There should be another arrow in the image next to that of Singularity and pointing to the same point but with the legend "Impossible"

There is no such thing as a black hole. This will be explained later in section 10.

Probably, if graphical representations of space-time curvature were not deceptive, then impossible entities like black holes would go away.

Also, the mistaken claim of remote gravitational lensing should also go away having no justification for a remote curvature.

To present the reality of a proposed black hole, the image for most observers (except for the special observer) who have no distorted space-time, the bottom right should have this note inserted using the Sun's graphic icon (instead of O to make the change clearer):

Milky Way SMBH  has O x 4.1 million visible to all other observers.

(end of note)

That simple change to the figure clearly unveils the deception because there is NO huge real mass of that size, , observable by any observer who is looking at that location claimed for  that super massive black hole. Astronomers just claim this mass is present with no observational evidence. Everyone should "see" it, but do not.

The black hole is something we are told is there but we cannot observe it. That restriction makes the concept immediately suspicious.

There is a section Black Hole for more details.

6.5 Gravitational Wave

We observe a gravitational wave (GW) indirectly, only by its effect on the Earth's surface.

A GW is also called a ripple in spacetime. A GW s is nonsense, when spacetime is not a thing.

A GW is explained in section Cosmology.

6.6 Gravitational Lensing

Einstein claimed gravity or spacetime could bend the path of light. In reality, neither can.

This mistake bwith light by Einstein  is covered in section Cosmology with more details.

6.7 Summary of section

Space-time is 4 numbers representing in the change in the special observer's local coordinates in a Euclidean geometry in 3 values from changes in x, y, x, with the 4th number is he change in time during that time of motion.

Space-time is not a thing.

Space-time cannot ripple to carry a gravitational wave.

Space-time is not a medium that could bend light by refraction.

Go to Table of Contents, to read a specific section.

last change 01/24/2022