Of the four fundamental forces known to science in our culture, there are only three that can be manipulated: electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear. Eluding our grasp thus far is the ever-important force of gravity, forcing us to expend large amounts of energy to leave the planet’s surface. However, a revolutionary proposal has been made that may change that situation.
This proposal was made by André Füzfa, a mathematics professor from the University of Namur, Belgium. He describes a device that could be built, using current electromagnetic technology, that would be able to manipulate gravity by generating it’s own gravitational field. He details his mathematical proofs, using nothing more than available principles, in his paper, "How Current Loops and Solenoids Curve Space-time".
The device would be part of a two-phase experiment: the first phase would see the building of the device itself, being made of a series of stacked superconducting coils. The second phase would entail the measurement of the gravitational field being generated, using highly sensitive interferometers.
While the technology to do what Füzfa proposes is available, it does require high-end superconducting electromagnets, similar to the units employed by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, making the proposal a potentially expensive one. But the potential pay-off of such an advancement would be revolutionary.
If our culture were to gain the ability to the manipulate gravity, this would open vast new avenues of discovery for us: antigravity devices would do away with the need for bulky and dangerous rockets currently used to not only launch vehicles into space, but also propel them through space; artificial gravity generators would eliminate the need for large centrifugal-based gravity systems proposed for spacecraft; and eventually this technology could be adapted to allow for faster-than-light travel.
“The most widespread source of gravitation is the inertial mass, which produces permanent gravitational fields. At the opposite, electromagnetic fields could be used to generate artificial, or human-made, gravitational fields, that could be switched on or off at will, depending whether their electromagnetic progenitors are present or not,” according to Füzfa.
In his paper, Füzfa also calls on the scientific community to stop being passive when it comes to the study of gravity, and for the scientific community to start generating gravitational fields of their own. Currently, the majority of observations being made on gravity are simply those from natural sources.