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ERIC Number: EJ1115470
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Oct
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Measuring Intrinsic Curvature of Space with Electromagnetism
Mabin, Mason; Becker, Maria; Batelaan, Herman
Physics Teacher, v54 n7 p416-419 Oct 2016
The concept of curved space is not readily observable in everyday life. The educational movie "Sphereland" attempts to illuminate the idea. The main character, a hexagon, has to go to great lengths to prove that her world is in fact curved. We present an experiment that demonstrates a new way to determine if a two-dimensional surface, the 2-sphere, is curved. The behavior of an electric field, placed on a spherical surface, is shown to be related to the intrinsic Gaussian curvature. This approach allows students to gain some understanding of Einstein's theory of general relativity, which relates the curvature of spacetime to the presence of mass and energy. Additionally, an opportunity is provided to investigate the dimensionality of Gauss's law.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A