One of the most startling and remarkable discoveries of the 20th century was that gravity is not a force. Einstein showed that gravity is not a mysterious, invisible force—it is the curvature of spacetime. But what does the “curvature of spacetime” mean? It is hard to get your head around this mind-bending concept! To try and get a handle on it, physicists have tried many different analogies, but some are better than others. In this talk, we will explore the popular bowling ball on a trampoline model that educators often use, what’s wrong with it and how we can do better. Along the way we will look at how general relativity describes black holes, places in the universe where spacetime curvature is at its most extreme.
Kelly is an outreach scientist at Perimeter Institute delivering and developing science educational content. She has developed online enrichment courses in cutting-edge physics for high school students and develops the content for Perimeter’s International Summer School for Young Physicists. She has given workshops on science and modern physics across Canada and abroad. Kelly has a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Heidelberg in Germany and was a postdoctoral researcher at McMaster University working before joining Perimeter in 2013. She loves sharing her passion for physics and astronomy with students, teachers and the public.