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 Organic light-emitting diodes become brighter and more durable
28.05.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness
25.05.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

12th COMPAMED Spring Convention: Innovative manufacturing processes of modern implants

28.05.2018 | Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cognitive Power Electronics 4.0 is gaining momentum

28.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

Organic light-emitting diodes become brighter and more durable

28.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

12th COMPAMED Spring Convention: Innovative manufacturing processes of modern implants

28.05.2018 | Event News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>