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Mach’s Principle and Gödel’s Rotating Universe

faculty article Oct 21, 2014

by William Brown, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

The question of the nature of absolute and relative frames of space, time, and motion forms the basis of Newton’s work in The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, as the opening discussion of the book. This question is also relevant to Einstein’s theories of motion occurring at or close to the speed of light, hence the appellation relative in relativity theory. As we have seen, Newton described a fundamentally absolute frame of space and time in which an object’s motion was absolute, or independent of its orientation relative to other objects.

Newton illustrated this concept in the Principia with an example of a bucket filled with water and suspended by a rope from the ceiling. If the rope were to be turned until it was sufficiently twisted, and then released, the rapid spinning motion of the bucket would impart to the water a centrifugal force that would cause it to pull away from the...

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