The Graviton Enigma

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The Graviton Enigma

Something of an E. Nigma, that Riddler.

Silver Screen Collection/Contributor/Getty Images

Riddle me this, Batman: How does gravity work?

Look, it's not a subject Batman likes to discuss all that much. According to physicists at University of Leicester, gravity would have the curious habit of pulling Batman to his death every time the costumed vigilante tried to use that physically impractical cape. So he tends to leave the whole gravity conundrum alone and chase after Edward Nigma instead.

For physicists, however, the question carries a lot more -- yes -- weight. Sure, we have a decent hands-on understanding of gravity's effects. We know how its power factors into celestial mechanics and the formation of cosmic bodies. Yet still we don't have a firm answer to the riddle of gravity.

One possible answer leads us right to another baffling particle in the subatomic rogues gallery: the graviton. If it actually exists, this hypothetical particle transmits the force of gravity, causing objects to attract each other. Oh yeah, and its existence would also enable us to unite general relativity with quantum mechanics. Gravity, you see, often acts as a monkey wrench in various all-encompassing theories.

So yeah, the graviton is kind of a big deal -- unless it doesn't exist.

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