Some time ago I, like millions of others, watched images of specialists on board the space station as they created beautiful spheres from small amounts of water released free within the confines of the station.
As I observed these perfect spheres I asked myself some very serious questions.
Firstly, are the atoms or molecules of water "sticking" to each other because they are "attracted" to one another, in other words "mutual gravitational attraction", as per Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation?
All astromomers, Physicists and Cosmologists still talk of gravity as "attractive" or the "pull" of two or more masses.
For example, Saul Perlmutter and his team of astronomers announced in 1998, that data collected over an extensive period gave the incredible result that the universe is not only expanding, but accelerating in that expansion.
Most interested parties were shocked by this, as it was thought that there would be enough gravitational "attraction" between all the matter in the universe to slow down the expansion, it was thought that some sort of "negative" or "funny" energy is counteracting gravity and causing the acceleration.
Whether you agree with this scenario is up to you and yes, all opinions are equally valid and carry as much weight as my own.
However, after much personal turmoil, soul searching and deep thought, I now firmly believe the law of Universal Gravitation in its written form is incorrect.
My reasoning is for this is as follows:
When I observe the sphere of water, I do so with my mind rather than my eyes. I visualise the protons, neutrons and electrons from which it is constructed. These particles are, to the best of my knowledge, infinitely dense objects, no matter their dimensions or masses.
My first conclusion is that the expanding vacuum energy cannot permeate to the very centre of these objects and so they are completely separate and excluded from that energy, or as I put it "external" to that energy.
You could say your immense volume is nothing but expanding vacuum energy, but your infinitesimally small amount of mass is completely external to that energy.
You see, when I observe the sphere of water, I percive the vacuum energy trying its best to crush the tiny mass of the sphere out of existence. It would easily succeed if it were not for one thing that tempers the vacuums ferocious crushing power, the wonderful electron, its frantic motion ensures that the vacuum cannot gain complete purchase of the mass of the sphere, therefore allows the sphere to exist.
I no longer believe that I and the earth are pulled together, but that we are both squeezed together with our electrons tempering just how much we are squeezed .
An accelerating universe is no longer a shock for me, but a natural consequence.
If my perception of the mechanism of gravity has validity then the vacuum is not as benign as it appears, it also presents me with another conundrum; gravity is not the weakest of the four fundamental forces of nature, but the strongest by far. It is the engine that drives the universe, the primary energy that constantly transforms from one to another.