Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Putting Einstein to the test in a small glass tube

05.11.2003


The most accurate test to date of Einstein’s theory of special relativity is taking place at the University of Sussex. The investigation of Einstein’s 1905 theory could change the face of modern physics. It will examine quantum gravity, a theory which introduces very small modifications into the accepted 1905 theory.

Examination of Einstein’s theory is usually a costly and time-consuming exercise. Existing experiments involve multi-million dollar space projects. Physicist Dr Ben Varcoe has devised a way of bringing the science down to earth.

Dr Varcoe said: “I have created a new means of looking at the problem without the hassle and cost of sending large spacecrafts away from the planet. We shall gain better results here at Sussex by shining lasers through a small glass tube and measuring the effects.”



The experiment looks at quantum gravity, a theory which introduces very small modifications to the Einstein’s theory. The experiment is designed to accurately measure any changes to the speed of light during testing. The aim is to find out whether light really is “c”, a constant, in the famous equation E=mc2. Einstein decreed the speed of light must be a the same regardless of how fast the observers of the experiment are moving. New physics disciplines, such as quantum gravity and string theory, often introduce small changes to Einstein’s theory.

Light has two properties, the time it takes to go between two points and the distance between its waves. Quantum physics makes it possible to alter the time it takes for the light to travel between two points whilst leaving the speed of the waves the same. Dr Varcoe’s experiment involves slowing down the speed of a flash of light so it takes a very long time to travel through the experiment in a laboratory at the University campus. By slowing the speed of the light flash to a manageable level it is possible to examine the associated light waves and test Einstein’s theory to a higher precision than ever before.

Dr Varcoe said: “No one in the UK has ever tried slowing down light for this purpose. The speed of light is incredibly fast at about 30 million metres a second which is why great distances in space are used for testing. We will be able to use a 5 cm glass tube with gas inside to slow the light from three lasers down to 10 metres a second. It is a simple practical method for tackling a major intellectual challenge.”

The tests will be carried out by Dr Varcoe assisted by two undergraduate students. Initial findings are expected within six months with full results by late 2005. The project has been funded by a grant from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council.

Alix Macfarlane | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sussex.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>