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 First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source
27.09.2016 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

nachricht Australian technology installed on world’s largest single-dish radio telescope
26.09.2016 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)

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: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

Using mathematical models to understand our brain

16.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Flexible Grid Involves its Users

27.09.2016 | Information Technology

Process-Integrated Inspection for Ultrasound-Supported Friction Stir Welding of Metal Hybrid-Joints

27.09.2016 | Machine Engineering

First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

27.09.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>