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A century ago this year, a young Swiss physicist, who had already revolutionized physics with discoveries about the relationship between space and time, developed a radical new understanding of gravity.
In 1915, Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity, which described gravity as a fundamental property of space-time. He came up with a set of equations that relate the curvature of space-time to the energy and momentum of the matter and radiation that are present in a particular region.
Today, 100 years later, Einstein’s theory of gravitation remains a pillar of modern understanding, and has withstood all the tests that scientists could throw at it. But until recently, it wasn’t possible to do experiments to probe the theory under extreme conditions to see whether it breaks down.
Tag Archives | Einstein
I came across these candles awhile ago and they’ve been sitting on my “gift ideas” Pinterest board (don’t judge!) for awhile now. I may or may not have bought ’em for someone in my family. (I did, but I really hope he/she doesn’t read this and figure it out! They look awesome, by the way.)
So, if you’re not already done buying gifts for the Holidays, maybe you know someone who will appreciate these. You can buy them as a set or individually.
Happy Time Travels (and Holidays).
We just watched the third and as it turns out final (the show has been canceled ALREADY!) episode of Zero Hour where one of Hank’s sidekicks says that “Disinfo is like porn to me.” I took a screenshot when the camera closes in on his computer displaying our website, only to find a story that we never published, entitled “What Was Einstein’s Final Project?” It could be an interesting article – any volunteers to write it for real?
Einstein’s “God Letter” is up for sale at auction. Any bidders? Jessica Ravitz reports for CNN:
Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a “delusion,” one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.
“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. “No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”
Dubbed Einstein’s “God Letter” by the Los Angeles-based auction agency that’s posting it online, the original document will be up for grabs starting Monday. The opening bid: $3 million.
The letter provides a window into the famed genius’s religious beliefs. Einstein wrote it to Jewish philosopher Eric Gutkind, one year before Einstein died, in reaction to Gutkind’s book, “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt.”…
[continues at CNN]
Scientists making discoveries that defy the laws of physics seems to be something of a theme this month. Now the eggheads at CERN say they’ve observed subatomic particles moving faster than the speed of light, which might theoretically allow us to travel back in time. Eryn Brown and Amina Khan report for the LA Times:
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Albert Einstein had the idea. A century of observations have backed it up. It’s one of the cornerstones of physics: Nothing travels faster than the speed of light.
But now a team of experimental physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, says that one exotic particle possibly can.
The scientists reached their conclusion after sending streams of tiny, subatomic particles called neutrinos hurtling from an accelerator at CERN outside Geneva to a detector at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, about 450 miles away.
The neutrinos seemed to get there too soon — 60 nanoseconds too soon, give or take — than they should if they’d been traveling at the speed of light.
Major disappointment, from some jerk scientists who don’t seem to know when to keep their results to themselves. Via Discovery:
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Hong Kong physicists say they have proved that a single photon obeys Einstein’s theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light — demonstrating that outside science fiction, time travel is impossible.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology research team led by Du Shengwang said they had proved that a single photon, or unit of light, “obeys the traffic law of the universe.”
The possibility of time travel was raised 10 years ago when scientists discovered superluminal — or faster-than-light — propagation of optical pulses in some specific medium, the team said. It was later found to be a visual effect, but researchers thought it might still be possible for a single photon to exceed light speed.
Du, however, believed Einstein was right and determined to end the debate by measuring the ultimate speed of a single photon, which had not been done before.
Ah, now we know why the Doctor visits our planet so often. Via NASA’s website:
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Einstein was right again. There is a space-time vortex around Earth, and its shape precisely matches the predictions of Einstein’s theory of gravity.
Researchers confirmed these points at a press conference today at NASA headquarters where they announced the long-awaited results of Gravity Probe B (GP-B).
“The space-time around Earth appears to be distorted just as general relativity predicts,” says Stanford University physicist Francis Everitt, principal investigator of the Gravity Probe B mission.
“This is an epic result,” adds Clifford Will of Washington University in St. Louis. An expert in Einstein’s theories, Will chairs an independent panel of the National Research Council set up by NASA in 1998 to monitor and review the results of Gravity Probe B. “One day,” he predicts, “this will be written up in textbooks as one of the classic experiments in the history of physics.”
Time and space, according to Einstein’s theories of relativity, are woven together, forming a four-dimensional fabric called “space-time.” The mass of Earth dimples this fabric, much like a heavy person sitting in the middle of a trampoline.
Thanks to Greg F. for sending along this story from the Belfast Telegraph:
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A device that exists in two different states at the same time, and coincidentally proves that Albert Einstein was right when he thought he was wrong, has been named as the scientific breakthrough of the year.
The machine, consisting of a sliver of wafer-thin metal, is the first man-made device to be governed by the mysterious quantum forces that operate at the level of atoms and sub-atomic particles.
Normal, everyday objects obey the laws of conventional Newtonian physics, named after Sir Isaac Newton, but these rules break down on the sub-atomic scale and a whole new branch of theoretical physics had to be invented to explain what happens on this sub-microscopic level.
Einstein was the first to embrace quantum physics but later rejected it on the grounds that it made everything unpredictable – “God does not play dice with the universe,” he famously stated.
By Jon Hamilton for NPR:
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In the 55 years since Albert Einstein’s death, many scientists have tried to figure out what made him so smart.
But no one tried harder than a pathologist named Thomas Harvey, who lost his job and his reputation in a quest to unlock the secrets of Einstein’s genius. Harvey never found the answer. But through an unlikely sequence of events, his search helped transform our understanding of how the brain works.
In The Name Of Science
How that happened is a bizarre story that involves a dead genius, a stolen brain, a rogue scientist and a crazy idea that turned out not to be so crazy.
The genius, Einstein, died April 18, 1955, at Princeton Hospital in Princeton, N.J. Within hours, the quiet town was swarming with reporters and scientific luminaries, and people who simply wanted to be near the great man one last time, says Michael Paterniti, a writer who did a lot of research on the events of that day.