Le Sage's Theory of Gravitation - Non-gravitational Applications and Analogies

Non-gravitational Applications and Analogies

Mock gravity

Lyman Spitzer in 1941 calculated, that absorption of radiation between two dust particles lead to a net attractive force which varies proportional to 1/r2 (evidently he was unaware of Le Sage's shadow mechanism and especially Lorentz's considerations on radiation pressure and gravity). George Gamow, who called this effect "mock gravity", proposed in 1949 that after the big bang the temperature of the electrons has dropped faster than the temperature of the background radiation. Absorption of the radiation lead to a Lesage mechanism between the electrons, which might have had an important role in the process of galaxy formation shortly after the big bang. However, this proposal was disproved by Field in 1971, who showed that this effect was much too small, because electrons and the radiation were nearly in thermal equilibrium. Hogan and White proposed in 1986 that mock gravity might have influenced the galaxy formation by absorption of pregalactic starlight. But it was shown by Wang and Field that any form of mock gravity is incapable of producing enough force to influence the galaxy formation.


The Le Sage mechanism also has been identified as a significant factor in the behavior of dusty plasma. A.M. Ignatov has shown that an attractive force arises between two dust grains suspended in an isotropic collisionless plasma due to inelastic collisions between ions of the plasma and the grains of dust. This attractive force is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between dust grains, and can counterbalance the Coulomb repulsion between dust grains.

Vacuum energy

In quantum field theory the existence of virtual particles is proposed, which lead to the so-called Casimir effect. Casimir calculated that between two plates only particles with specific wavelengths should be counted when calculating the vacuum energy. Therefore the energy density between the plates is less if the plates are close together, leading to a net attractive force between the plates. However, the conceptual framework of this effect is very different from the theory of Fatio and Le Sage.

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