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Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

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  • Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

    Just thought I'd share this exciting finding with anyone interested. I personally am stoked about this baffling discovery. Shows too that the simplest of experiments can still reveal totally mindscrewing mysteries.

    The title is a bit hyperbolic though, as the limits of the theory of relativity have been exposed in different fields before. Perhaps though no experiments have shown it's limits or even flaws in such a direct manner though. Another 10 years of work for the physicists.

    source http://digg.com/d31K1Ad

    The First Test That Proves General Theory of Relativity WrongA spinning top increases its weight much more than expected


    According to Einstein's theory of general relativity, a moving mass should create another field, called gravitomagnetic field, besides its static gravitational field. This field has now been measured for the first time and to the scientists' astonishment, it proved to be no less than one hundred million trillion times larger than Einstein's General Relativity predicts.

    This gravitomagnetic field is similar to the magnetic field produced by a moving electric charge (hence the name "gravitomagnetic" analogous to "electromagnetic"). For example, the electric charges moving in a coil produce a magnetic field - such a coil behaves like a magnet. Similarly, the gravitomagnetic field can be produced to be a mass moving in a circle. What the electric charge is for electromagnetism, mass is for gravitation theory (the general theory of relativity).

    A spinning top weights more than the same top standing still. However, according to Einstein's theory, the difference is negligible. It should be so small that we shouldn't even be capable of measuring it. But now scientists from the European Space Agancy, Martin Tajmar, Clovis de Matos and their colleagues, have actually measured it. At first they couldn't believe the result.

    "We ran more than 250 experiments, improved the facility over 3 years and discussed the validity of the results for 8 months before making this announcement. Now we are confident about the measurement," says Tajmar. They hope other physicists will now conduct their own versions of the experiment so they could be absolutely certain that they have really measured the gravitomagnetic field and not something else. This may be the first empiric clue for how to merge together quantum mechanics and general theory of relativity in a single unified theory.

    "If confirmed, this would be a major breakthrough," says Tajmar, "it opens up a new means of investigating general relativity and its consequences in the quantum world."





    The experiment involved a ring of superconducting material rotating up to 6 500 times a minute. According to quantum theory, spinning superconductors should produce a weak magnetic field. The problem was that Tajmar and de Matos experiments with spinning superconductors didn't seem to fit the theory - although in all other aspects the quantum theory gives incredibly accurate predictions. Tajmar and de Matos then had the idea that maybe the quantum theory wasn't wrong after all but that there was some additional effect overlapping over their experiments, some effect they neglected.

    What could this other effect be? They thought maybe it's the gravitomagnetic field - the fact that the spinning top exerts a higher gravitational force. So, they placed around the spinning superconductor a series of very sensible acceleration sensors for measuring whether this effect really existed. They obtained more than they bargained for!

    Although the acceleration produced by the spinning superconductor was 100 millionths of the acceleration due to the Earth's gravitational field, it is a surprising one hundred million trillion times larger than Einstein's General Relativity predicts. Thus, the spinning top generated a much more powerful gravitomagnetic field than expected.

    Now, it remains the need for a proper theory. Scientists can also now check whether candidate theories, such as the string theory, can describe this experiment correctly. Moreover, this experiment shows that gravitational waves should be much more easily to detect than previously thought.

    Photo: the experimental apparatus. Credits: ESA

  • #2
    Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

    Can someone translate this article into English? What is the significance?
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    • #3
      Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

      Nothing really. Just everyday experimental physics.

      By the way, Tajmar and Co.'s experiment, or rather their observation, hasn't been independently duplicated yet - almost 4 years after their initial claim.

      This stuff happens all the time in the sciences. Also, poor science journalism happens all the time. Also, the lay are easily excited by normal science stuff that gets unjustifiably hyped by science journalists.

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      • #4
        Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

        Hmm yes 4 years reminds me of coldfusion :p. Has someone failed to duplicate it though? I suppose plenty of people will have tried.

        But eh Sordavie, I suppose you don't believe in magic? What is wrong with being a bit enthusiastic? I myself was totally mesmerized when I first saw and understood the hubble deep field picture.
        How can there be science without passion and wonder? Isn't everyone a lay in all fields but their own? If you forgive me for the personal remark, intellectual superiority seems like a very lonely place.

        ----
        As for aeroripper's question, forgetting for a second the sceptic points made by sordavie: The significance would be quite huge as their would be a serious and fundamental flaw in Einstein's theory. From there we would have to change a significant part of our world view. A cascade of changes would occur in models of the universe etc.

        Then new fields of research would come out, perhaps even new practical applications. That is, if the experiment can be duplicated :p.

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        • #5
          Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

          You're right, I don't believe in magic. I have no reason to. And I have no reason to be enthusiastic about magic either. Do you believe in magic and are you enthusiastic about it?

          Well, it's nice that you bring up the example of cold fusion. Originally, two chemists did some experiments believing they had produced and observed the process of cold fusion. Everyone became very excited once the mainstream media jumped on it. Science journalism sucked then as it sucks now. Turns out, we now have lots and lots of evidence that they were just wrong. Nobody else has been able to (1) give any good experimental evidence of cold fusion nor (2) explain how cold fusion is consistent with conventionally accepted physical theories or give a credible new theory.

          Scientific enthusiasm is great. Enthusiasm for one's own experiments is great. Enthusiasm for learning about reality is great. However, science itself proceeds slowly and theoretical conservatism, like in all fields of inquiry, is a great virtue. Wondering is the essence of where one starts in any field of inquiry. But these are all very different than being enthusiastic about a particular result that hasn't been verified from a 3rd party point of view. This is very specific enthusiasm. And it's unfortunately unwarranted.

          You're forgiven for your personal remark. There are lots of smart people that I talk to every day. From the outside in, perhaps it's hard for you to tell; but I assure you there are lots of smart people around that keep me company. Thanks for your concern.

          ------------------

          *sigh* I'm no physicist, but as far as I can tell your very vague description of the significance of this experiment - if the hypothesis about what was being observed is correct - is incorrect.

          With just a tad bit of research, I was able to find out that the digg-linked article was just horribly written and a complete misrepresentation of what the scientists think they've found.

          You may read the two articles they published during their time using this set up for experiments:
          http://arxiv.org/ftp/gr-qc/papers/0603/0603033.pdf
          http://arxiv.org/ftp/gr-qc/papers/0610/0610015.pdf

          Nowhere does any of them think that they've found a fundamental flaw in General Relativity. In fact, the conclusion of the second article is that their experimental results are consistent with what general relativity and the estimate of dark energy in the universe predicts.

          What they set out to do was to experimentally observe a particular effect - frame-dragging - that's predicted by General Relativity. They think they have done so. Here's the upshot, if they're right - they've devised a new method to experimentally test something that's predicted by our best physical theories that we couldn't test before. Of course that's setting aside the fact that we've done large scale experiments to test for these effects before.

          [edit] They've more recently (2007) published an article comparing their method and findings with other large scale attempts at experimentally testing the predicted gravitomagnetic effect. But in any case, their results haven't been duplicated - not clear if that's just lack of interest in their particular work by the rest of the field or whether others have tried and failed.

          Looks like you're getting all enthusiastic and excited over nothing at all - literally nothing at all, since the digg-link article completely misrepresented what was going on.

          A quick peek at the lead scientist's recent publication history shows that he's no longer working on testing the gravitomagnetic effect - evidence that the project hasn't panned out.

          Before you get all enthusiastic about something, you should at least do some minimal research to make sure you understand what's going on.
          Last edited by sordavie; 02-26-2010, 11:26 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

            Heh I've always been quick to believe in people's good will. I guess this article writer got me good. I do wonder about his motives, and I can't think of any other than ad-revenue from site traffic. Really what posesses a man to twist things around like that. I guess I could have reviewed it myself, but I'm not versed in finding the correct sources, and most of all, I was under the impression that this article was very new and just not reviewed yet, or therefore not reproduced.

            The 4 years thing alone is I guess an obvious sign that it is all not true. If I had found that out, I would have known it wasn't true because I do follow this kind of news closely, without understanding more of physics than the basic ideas.

            As for the believing in magic, that was just a friendly challenge. I do, in the sense of Arthur c. Clarke's quote (or was it Asimov): Any technology that is sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. I would add to it any phenomenon that is sufficiently beyond current scientific understanding. I've personally found a highly rational approach to life (not science) was somewhat unproductive, as life and happiness has much to do with things that are far beyond our current understanding. My personal remark was not so much concern, I won't fake that, but more curiosity, as I am always interested in how people organise their worldview, in dialogue with the rest of their existence. You certainly do arouse my curiosity.

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            • #7
              Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

              You make little to no sense.

              Anyway, here's their retraction of their earlier interpretation that they were observing much greater frame-dragging effects than is predicted by General Relativity: http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/-searc...d-bdd632cc2ba0

              Here they conclude that they were observing anomalous signals from their equipment and not the frame-dragging effect at all. And so ends their project.

              Meta-research like this is not hard at all, given the resources of the internet. All you need is google and a critical eye.

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              • #8
                Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

                *reads retraction*

                Very interesting, but that's not a retraction at all. More like a clarification. If I may paraphrase and summarize:
                FIRST EXPERIMENT: Spinning disks seem like they cause frame dragging, much more than you would expect from relativity!
                SECOND EXPERIMENT: Hm, I think our spinning disks were also spinning the helium. And spinning helium appears to cause frame dragging, much more than you would expect from relativity! The disks themselves didn't seem to do much though, aside from spinning the helium.

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                • #9
                  Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

                  What is your field of research?

                  Ps Don't confuse laziness with stupidity.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

                    Originally posted by BigGaayAl View Post
                    As for the believing in magic, that was just a friendly challenge. I do, in the sense of Arthur c. Clarke's quote (or was it Asimov): Any technology that is sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.
                    Clarke was a great writer, but he didn't really understand the idea of the scientific method. "Magic" exists/existed because the average person didn't even understand the concept of looking at something from a logical standpoint. People just don't realize how powerful the scientific method is or how much a "logical" standpoint has affected the course of human technological development. Just look at the progress humanity has made in the past 100 years, after the development of industry and modern science. Now compare it to the progress of the times before it. It doesn't even compare.

                    No modern scientist (or modern person period, I would hope, but I'm wrong) is going to watch aliens from another galaxy land on earth (when FTL travel is pretty much proven to not exist), lift rocks with their minds (telekinesis, not a lot of chance that existing), and shoot fireballs from their fingers (seriously?) and say "I can't explain that, so it must be magic."

                    Magic, by definition, is something in the realm of the supernatural. Something that can be directly observed/documented has to conform to a set of laws, whether we happen to understand those laws or not. To say otherwise is the same as saying your wooden desk might turn into Skittles at any moment.

                    I would add to it any phenomenon that is sufficiently beyond current scientific understanding. I've personally found a highly rational approach to life (not science) was somewhat unproductive, as life and happiness has much to do with things that are far beyond our current understanding.
                    What's your definition of a "rational approach to life?" Am I somehow less fulfilled because I don't ramble incoherently at the pavement, drive my truck into trees because I feel like it, or yell at clouds?

                    This line of reasoning has always confused me. That somehow, people willing to accept the existence of ghosts or other such phenomenon are leading richer lives than me just because they say so. As if, just because I chose to believe the world exists as I perceive it, I am incapable of imagination, like say, playing a PnP RPG where the entire adventure lives within my mind, a few pieces of paper, and some dice.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

                      Originally posted by TheFeniX View Post
                      Magic, by definition, is something in the realm of the supernatural. Something that can be directly observed/documented has to conform to a set of laws, whether we happen to understand those laws or not. To say otherwise is the same as saying your wooden desk might turn into Skittles at any moment.
                      /me spends rest of day staring intently at desk.... :p
                      Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                      snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                      Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                      • #12
                        Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

                        Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
                        *reads retraction*

                        Very interesting, but that's not a retraction at all. More like a clarification. If I may paraphrase and summarize:
                        FIRST EXPERIMENT: Spinning disks seem like they cause frame dragging, much more than you would expect from relativity!
                        SECOND EXPERIMENT: Hm, I think our spinning disks were also spinning the helium. And spinning helium appears to cause frame dragging, much more than you would expect from relativity! The disks themselves didn't seem to do much though, aside from spinning the helium.

                        Sorry, wrong linked article. This one follows up the one you read: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0911/0911.1033.pdf

                        Basically they decide to test the hypothesis that the effect comes from spinning liquid helium. But their instruments are not sensitive enough to distinguish between the noise and signal.

                        In either case, they've backed off suggesting that they are observing a gravitomagnetic (or frame-dragging) effect that's 10^20 times stronger than is predicted by General Relativity - that's supposed to be the big discovery. Their hypothesis after was that spinning helium produces a "frame-dragging-like" effect. That is not a clarification. A frame-dragging-like effect is not the same as the frame-dragging effect. (The frame-dragging effect is supposed to happen with any spinning mass - not just some and not others. The spinning disk and the spinning helium should all produce the frame-dragging effect. In the article you read, they're wondering whether the spinning liquid helium is producing an effect that looks like frame-dragging to a much greater degree than is predicted by General Relativity in their observations, which they might have mistaken as the frame-dragging effect earlier; hence, "frame-dragging-like" effect.) That's a retraction of the original ground-breaking hypothesis and the unveiling of a new hypothesis about why they appeared to be getting the anomalous signals they were getting. And the latest hypothesis is that they don't know what's going on - a work in progress.

                        Here's another team who tried to replicate the results. I'm not going to pay for access to the full article, but the abstract makes it clear that they could not reproduce the observational results - at least not any frame-dragging effect: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...8849f2640adbfd

                        [edit] Perhaps I should clarify what I mean by 'retraction'. I don't mean the sorts of high publicity stunts that are called 'retractions' by movie stars and politicians. In academia, the following counts as a retraction: you assert that a hypothesis H about some phenomenon X is the best hypothesis of what's going on. You later change your hypothesis about X to some hypothesis I that's incompatible with H, and assert that I is the best hypothesis of what's going on. In this case, you have retracted H as the best explanation of what's going on. And, at least in the article you read, they look to defend I. It need not be some formal announcement that you're officially retracting something you've said earlier.
                        Last edited by sordavie; 02-27-2010, 02:22 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

                          Clearly what Clarke means is that from the perspective of a community ignorant of the workings of some piece of advanced technology, it's indistinguishable from magic. To say something X is indistinguishable from something else Y is not to say that Y's exist. If all you mean by "I believe in magic in Clarke's sense" amounts to your believing that some people are ignorant of how some technology works, then, sure, we all agree to that; that's not belief in magic however. If all you mean is that we don't know how everything works, well DUH! Of course we don't know how everything works. That doesn't make it magic.

                          Secondly, can you mention some systematic ways in which you are irrational or arational which leads you to be more productive than rational people? Perhaps you just don't understand what's meant by rationality. Or perhaps you think there's some distinction between highly rational and nonhighly rational such that the latter is more productive? Or perhaps you're under the misunderstanding that being rational precludes understanding that we don't understand everything? Or is it that you think, somehow, that being ignorant of everything leads to a more productive and happy life?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

                            Originally posted by sordavie View Post
                            Secondly, can you mention some systematic ways in which you are irrational or arational which leads you to be more productive than rational people? Perhaps you just don't understand what's meant by rationality. Or perhaps you think there's some distinction between highly rational and nonhighly rational such that the latter is more productive? Or perhaps you're under the misunderstanding that being rational precludes understanding that we don't understand everything? Or is it that you think, somehow, that being ignorant of everything leads to a more productive and happy life?
                            I can absolutely provide ways in which being irrational or arational has lead me to be more productive than rational people. You see, it's a basic human concept: emotion is not based in the rational. A rational approach to, say, a sick relative, would be to do the research, learn about treatments, seek treatment and then wait patiently for said treatment to be administered. However, I can absolutely tell you that said approach is taken by very very few people, as they let emotion get involved, causing them to behave irrationally.

                            Now, you might be wondering how a lack of rational behavior can promote productivity, and I can answer that simply: when someone yells at you to get something done, you're more likely to do it with haste. This is absolutely true in the medical field. If I get a patient yelling at me enough to go get the attending physician and drag them in by their heels, I will absolutely do so in a much more rapid fashion than I would have otherwise. It's a principle that i'm sure Al, being a psychologist, is familiar with. Emotional causal transference (that being person A expresses emotion 1 to person B, and as a result, the previously unemotional person B exhibits emotion 2 as an effect of emotion 1). But is that rational? No. The rational conclusion would be for me to have an intrinsic understanding that the physician has a prioritized schedule and that the patient's complaints and whines are simply a side effect of their particular medical affliction or emotional condition and should be ignored unless they are regarding a direct issue which supersedes the previous priorities on the schedule. E.g.: the doctor will get to the patient when it's their turn unless there's an emergency.

                            Too bad rational doesn't work with actual people with actual emotions. I have an implicit understanding of death. I know what causes death. I see death on a regular basis. A rational conclusion is that the understanding and experience I have gained with death, along with the fact that I have no familial or associative familiarity with the dying, should preclude an emotional response. But maybe its just because that I choose to be irrational that I still find myself crying over patients who have died right in front of me. That must be the conclusion, since rational thought is the right way to go, correct?

                            I could site further examples in great detail, such as the fact that intentionally putting oneself under great pressure to stimulate a more productive work ethic, have been proven to be effective forms of irrational productivity, but I think we can understand the point.


                            Furthermore, to the final point, I ABSOLUTELY believe that being completely ignorant would lead to a much happier and content life. It circles back to your magic theory: that a lack of understanding of functionality breeds what people refer to as "magic". If your food "magically" appeared, you'd simply be happy about it. If you had no understanding of economics, you wouldn't get agitated about the economy. If you had no understanding of politics, you wouldn't be troubled by political issues. If everything just "magically" worked for you, why would you have reason to care? The answer: you'd be completely ignorant of everything, so you wouldn't, and thus would be much more content with even the simplest of occurrences that all of us educated folk take for granted, and would go about your business in such a fashion that would preclude preoccupations with issues associated with rational understanding of the world around them, thus making them more productive than someone who's head was swimming with alternate possibilities for unrelated topics.

                            That sense of magic and lack of understanding is a built in safety mechanism to keep us from going insane. Sure, we all know that the earth orbits the sun and the rotation along the axis is what causes the sun to "rise" and "set" every day. This is simple science that we all learn in grade school. But it takes only the simplest of minds and no understanding whatsoever to watch one and marvel at it. I have a doctorate in nursing practice, which denoted that I have a very intimate knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. But just because I can describe to you in infinite detail how a baby comes into existence, from the genesis of spermatozoa to the act of childbirth itself, doesn't mean that I'm not completely awestruck by the fact that this miraculous wonder of nature actually takes place, nor does it mean that I don't feel a complete sense of magic in witnessing it. Does this make anyone who does so less of a person because they CHOOSE to put aside rational thought and analysis of the given situation to simply sit back and enjoy the show? No, it makes them human.

                            Sure, you can choose to conduct your life under a rational and analytical thumb, attempting to learn and make sense of everything that passes your fancy, but IMHO, its no way to LIVE. There are definitions on paper for everything, but can they be defined? Can you define, to an absolute scientific end, love? No, of course not. But there are those who try. It's not an issue of education or intelligence, its simply a matter of human nature. We're incapable of being completely happy based on the fact that we crave a higher understanding of everything and will destroy to achieve it. The closest we can get is to keep hold of that sense of magic that the world can provide, regardless of our understanding.

                            So this evening, should the weather permit, go outside and gaze west as the sun dips below the horizon. Don't analyze, don't rationalize, don't examine. Just watch, and then come back and tell me that magic doesn't exist, and tell me that rationality is the answer to all questions. As someone who has led a very productive and very successful life, I'm perfectly content with being absolutely irrational as often as I can manage the task.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Amazing discovery in connection to gravity and relativity!

                              Originally posted by TheFeniX View Post
                              Magic, by definition, is something in the realm of the supernatural. Something that can be directly observed/documented has to conform to a set of laws, whether we happen to understand those laws or not. To say otherwise is the same as saying your wooden desk might turn into Skittles at any moment.
                              You are building your skepticism into your definitions. Let me disagree here and say Magic is precisely that which does NOT conform to the regular laws. Now it may be that everything conforms to the laws, in which case Magic does not exist -- but you would be guilty of circular reasoning if you claimed that magic must conform to its own laws, and therefore cannot exist. It is entirely possible that there are phenomena unknown to us that are not bound by the laws of nature at all. Those phenomena could still be observed when they occurred, but could not necessarily be replicated.

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