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      Gravity in Gravity’s Rainbow – Force, Fictitious Force, and Frame of Reference; or: The Science and Poetry of Sloth

      Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon

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          Abstract

          Gravity is a prominent physical concept in Gravity's Rainbow, as already announced by the novel's title. If the second part of the title – the poetic image of the rainbow – is bound up with mathematical formulas and the parabolic path of the Rocket, so conversely, this paper argues, Pynchon's novel introduces a relation between gravity and fiction. This paper explores Gravity's Rainbow's use of the changing historical understandings of gravitation from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries by examining the novel's illustration of Newton and Leibniz's opposed concepts as well as its references to gravity as understood in Einstein's theory of relativity. When tracing the notions of gravity as force, fictitious force, and frame of reference, a particular focus lies on the relation of physical imagery to ethical questions and on the way Gravity's Rainbow provides a physico-ethical explanation of Slothrop's disappearance from the novel.

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          Most cited references 44

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          The Case for an Accelerating Universe from Supernovae

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            The Nature of the Physical World

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              The Case for an Accelerating Universe from Supernovae

               Adam G. Riess (2000)
              The unexpected faintness of high-redshift Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), as measured by two teams, has been interpreted as evidence that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating. We review the current challenges to this interpretation and seek to answer whether the cosmological implications are compelling. We discuss future observations of SNe Ia which could offer extraordinary evidence to test acceleration.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon
                Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon
                2044-4095
                2014
                : 2
                : 2
                Affiliations
                simpleUniversity of Cologne
                Article
                10.7766/orbit.v2.2.80
                Copyright © 2014, Nina Engelhardt

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The citation of this article must include: the name(s) of the authors, the name of the journal, the full URL of the article (in a hyperlinked format if distributed online) and the DOI number of the article.

                Product
                Self URI (journal-page): https://www.pynchon.net/

                Literary studies, History

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