Home > Soul > 8. Gravitational Waves



Figure 9. The gravitational wave can be imagined as "ripples in an empty space". [Source: NASA]

A gravitational (GR) wave is the dynamic change of a GR field, or in Einstein's view, the variation in space-time's curvature. It can be imagined as "ripples in an empty space" (Figure 9), analogous to ripples of water when you jump into a swimming pool. Like the electromagnetic (EM) wave, a free GR wave propagates at the speed of light.

Similar to EM waves which are generated by the acceleration of electric charges, the GR wave will be generated whenever anything with mass is accelerated. If you move your hand back and forth, you will generate a GR wave. Seismic activities and ocean waves can also generate GR waves. However, these GR waves cannot be detected by current technology, due to their extremely weak interaction with matter.

The term "matter" refers to anything with mass even at rest. Both EM and GR waves are not considered as matter, because they do not have resting mass. Thus, both are the "immaterial substance" which fits Google's definition for a soul. However, the soul is supposed to be an integrated entity, whereas free EM or GR waves will travel at the speed of light, that is, 300,000,000 meters per second. To qualify as a soul, a population of EM or GR waves must be bound in a small region. The bound state, in physics, is called a "geon" which was first investigated in 1955 by John Wheeler, who coined the name for "gravitational-electromagnetic entity". The attractive force between EM waves is too weak to form a geon under practical conditions, but GR waves do have significant mutual attraction to create a geon in the real world.