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(Phys) Newton and Einstein

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 9:49 am    Post subject: (Phys) Newton and Einstein Reply with quote

Newton 'more important' than Einstein
From correspondents in London (World News Network)
November 24, 2005

ALBERT Einstein may have made the discoveries that led to nuclear and solar power, lasers and even a physical description of space and time, but Sir Isaac Newton had a greater impact on science and mankind, according to a poll published today.

Newton, the 17th-century English scientist most famous for describing the laws of gravity and motion, beat Einstein in two polls conducted by eminent London-based scientific academy, the Royal Society.

More than 1300 members of the public and 345 Royal Society scientists were asked separately which famous scientist made a bigger overall contribution to science, given the state of knowledge during his time, and which made a bigger positive contribution to humankind.

Newton was the winner on all counts, though he beat the German-born Einstein by only 0.2 of a percentage point (50.1 per cent to 49.9 per cent) in the public poll on who made the bigger contribution to mankind.

The margin was greater among scientists: 60.9 per cent for Newton and 39.1 per cent for Einstein.

The results were announced ahead of the "Einstein vs Newton" debate, a public lecture at the Royal Society tomorrow.

"Many people would say that comparing Newton and Einstein is like comparing apples and oranges, but what really matters is that people are appreciating the huge amount that both these physicists achieved, and that their impact on the world stretched far beyond the laboratory and the equation," said Royal Society president Lord Peter May.

Pro-Newton scientists argue he led the transition from an era of superstition and dogma to the modern scientific method.

His greatest work, the Principia Mathematica, showed that gravity was a universal force that applied to all objects in the universe, finally ruling out the belief that the laws of motion were different for objects on Earth and in the heavens.

Einstein's supporters point out that his celebrated theory of relativity disproved Newton's beliefs on space and time and led to theories about the creation of the universe, black holes and parallel universes.

He also proved mathematically that atoms exist and that light is made of particles called photons, setting the theoretical foundations for nuclear bombs and solar power.


Who is Sir Isaac Newton?

Who is Albert Einstein?

What did Einstein say about Newton?

What is Calculus (Isaac Newton)?

What is Gravity (Isaac Newton)?

What is F=ma (Isaac Newton)?

What is the Photoelectric Effect (Albert Einstein)

What is Relativity?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:51 am    Post subject: Einstein Was Right (Again): NIST and MIT Confirm that E= mc2 Reply with quote

Einstein Was Right (Again): NIST and MIT Confirm that E= mc2

Dec. 21, 2005
CONTACT: Laura Ost

GAITHERSBURG—Albert Einstein was correct in his prediction that E=mc2, according to scientists at the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who conducted the most precise direct test ever of what is perhaps the most famous formula in science.

In experiments described in the Dec. 22, 2005, issue of Nature,* the researchers added to a catalog of confirmations that matter and energy are related in a precise way. Specifically, energy (E) equals mass (m) times the square of the speed of light (c2), a prediction of Einstein’s theory of special relativity. By comparing NIST measurements of energy emitted by silicon and sulfur atoms and MIT measurements of the mass of the same atoms, the scientists found that E differs from mc2 by at most 0.0000004, or four-tenths of 1 part in 1 million. This result is “consistent with equality” and is 55 times more accurate than the previous best direct test of Einstein’s formula, according to the paper.

Such tests are important because special relativity is a central principle of modern physics and the basis for many scientific experiments as well as common instruments like the global positioning system. Other researchers have performed more complicated tests of special relativity that imply closer agreement between E and mc2 than the NIST/MIT work, but additional assumptions are required to interpret their results, making these previous tests arguably less direct.

The Nature paper describes two very different precision measurements, one done at NIST by a group led by the late physicist Richard Deslattes, and another done at MIT by a group led by David Pritchard. Deslattes developed methods for using optical and X-ray interferometry—the study of interference patterns created by electromagnetic waves—to precisely determine the spacing of atoms in a silicon crystal, and for using such calibrated crystals to measure and establish more accurate standards for the very short wavelengths characteristic of highly energetic X-ray and gamma ray radiation.

According to the basic laws of physics, every wavelength of electromagnetic radiation corresponds to a specific amount of energy. The NIST team determined the value for energy in the Einstein equation, E = mc2, by carefully measuring the wavelength of gamma rays emitted by silicon and sulfur atoms.

“This was Dick’s original vision, that a comparison like this would someday be made,” said Scott Dewey, a NIST physicist who is a co-author of the Nature paper. “The idea when he started working on silicon was to use it as a yardstick to measure the wavelengths of gamma rays, and use this in a test of special relativity. It took 30 years to realize his idea.”

The NIST/MIT tests focused on a well-known process: When the nucleus of an atom captures a neutron, energy is released as gamma ray radiation. The mass of the atom, which now has one extra neutron, is predicted to equal the mass of the original atom, plus the mass of a solitary neutron, minus a value called the neutron binding energy. The neutron binding energy is equal to the energy given off as gamma ray radiation, plus a small amount of energy released in the recoil motion of the nucleus.

The gamma rays in this process have wavelengths of less than a picometer, a million times smaller than visible light, and are diffracted or bent by the atoms in the calibrated crystals at a particular energy-dependent angle. Using a well-known mathematical formula, scientists can combine these angles with values for the crystal lattice spacing to determine the energy contained in individual gamma ray particles.

In the experiments described in Nature, NIST scientists measured the angle at which gamma rays are diffracted by crystals with known lattice spacings at the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France. The ILL has the world’s premier facility for colliding nuclei and neutrons and capturing the resulting gamma rays at the same instant. Accurate gamma-ray measurements are particularly challenging because the diffraction angles are less than 0.1 degree. The measurements were done using an instrument that was originally designed and built at NIST.

The MIT team measured the mass numbers used in the tests of Einstein’s formula by placing two ions (electrically charged atoms) of the same element, one with an extra neutron, in a small electromagnetic trap. Scientists counted the revolutions per second made by each ion around the magnetic field lines within the trap. The difference between these frequencies can be used to determine the masses of the ions. The experiment was performed with both silicon and sulfur ions. The novel two-ion technique virtually eliminates the effect of many sources of “noise,” such as magnetic field fluctuations, that reduce measurement accuracy. This work led to greatly improved values for the atomic masses of silicon and sulfur.

The work was supported by NIST and the National Science Foundation.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department’s Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

* S. Rainville, J.K. Thompson, E.G. Myers, J.M. Brown, M.S. Dewey, E.G. Kessler Jr., R.D. Deslattes, H.G. Börner, M. Jentschel, P. Mutti, D.E. Pritchard. 2005. A direct test of E = mc2. Nature. Dec. 22, 2005.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:47 am    Post subject: LSU professor resolves Einstein's twin paradox Reply with quote

Louisiana State University
14 February 2007

LSU professor resolves Einstein's twin paradox

BATON ROUGE – Subhash Kak, Delaune Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at LSU, recently resolved the twin paradox, known as one of the most enduring puzzles of modern-day physics.

First suggested by Albert Einstein more than 100 years ago, the paradox deals with the effects of time in the context of travel at near the speed of light. Einstein originally used the example of two clocks – one motionless, one in transit. He stated that, due to the laws of physics, clocks being transported near the speed of light would move more slowly than clocks that remained stationary. In more recent times, the paradox has been described using the analogy of twins. If one twin is placed on a space shuttle and travels near the speed of light while the remaining twin remains earthbound, the unmoved twin would have aged dramatically compared to his interstellar sibling, according to the paradox.

“If the twin aboard the spaceship went to the nearest star, which is 4.45 light years away at 86 percent of the speed of light, when he returned, he would have aged 5 years. But the earthbound twin would have aged more than 10 years!” said Kak.

The fact that time slows down on moving objects has been documented and verified over the years through repeated experimentation. But, in the previous scenario, the paradox is that the earthbound twin is the one who would be considered to be in motion – in relation to the sibling – and therefore should be the one aging more slowly. Einstein and other scientists have attempted to resolve this problem before, but none of the formulas they presented proved satisfactory.

Kak’s findings were published online in the International Journal of Theoretical Science, and will appear in the upcoming print version of the publication. “I solved the paradox by incorporating a new principle within the relativity framework that defines motion not in relation to individual objects, such as the two twins with respect to each other, but in relation to distant stars,” said Kak. Using probabilistic relationships, Kak’s solution assumes that the universe has the same general properties no matter where one might be within it.

The implications of this resolution will be widespread, generally enhancing the scientific community’s comprehension of relativity. It may eventually even have some impact on quantum communications and computers, potentially making it possible to design more efficient and reliable communication systems for space applications.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:48 am    Post subject: Steering atoms toward better navigation, physicists test New Reply with quote

Stanford University
17 February 2007

Steering atoms toward better navigation, physicists test Newton and Einstein along the way

Stanford physicist Mark Kasevich has adapted the technology in today's airplane navigation systems to work with atoms so cold that they almost stand still. At temperatures scarcely above absolute zero, atoms no longer behave as particles but rather as de Broglie waves, named for the theorist who originally posited that all matter behaves as both a light wave and as a particle. These waves can be configured to add or subtract, or interfere, with one another in an interferometer-an instrument that is used on airplanes to measure very small changes in rotation. Since global positioning system (GPS) location information is not available everywhere, airplanes still use inertial navigation systems founded on laser-based interferometers, even though their accuracy drifts over time. Kasevich's "atomic interferometer" may form the basis of a next-generation navigation system that gauges the airplane's location much more accurately.

"Navigation problems-how to get from point A to point B-tell us about space-time," says Kasevich, a professor in the departments of Physics and Applied Physics who will speak about atomic sensors Feb. 17 in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). "When we build these de Broglie wave navigation sensors, we're also building sensors that can test these fundamental laws about space-time."

Kasevich's atomic interferometer also is a sensitive detector of gravity-by far the weakest of the four fundamental forces of physics. Kasevich and his research group are using the interferometer to measure the gravitational constant, G, to greater precision than has ever been reached in the more than three centuries since Isaac Newton put forward his law of universal gravitation. Moreover, Kasevich is putting another physics legend to the test in ongoing research of Einstein's century-old principle of equivalence, which states it is impossible to tell the difference between the acceleration of an object due to gravity and the acceleration of its frame of reference.

The panel in which Kasevich is speaking is titled "What's Hot in Cold." Other participants include Tom Shachtman, author of the nonfiction book Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold, as well as physicists Heather Lewandowski of the University of Colorado-Boulder; Steven M. Girvin of Yale University; Richard Packard of the University of California-Berkeley; and Moses Chan of Pennsylvania State University-University Park. They will describe how matter cooled to low temperatures behaves according to the laws of quantum mechanics, which operate quite differently from the familiar world of classical physics. Whether gas, liquid or solid, each system in this ultracool regime proves to be a rich trove of new physics.

Interferometry-old and new

Navigation technology inspired Kasevich's atomic sensors. Airplanes monitor their attitude with ring-laser gyroscopes, which use interferometry to detect rotation. In conventional interferometers, a single-wavelength beam from a laser is split into two paths and later recombined so that the final wave exhibits a characteristic pattern. This interference pattern will differ depending upon the differences in paths traveled by the two split waves. If the paths are identical, they will recombine as the original wave. But as the airplane with its gyroscope turns, rotation of the interferometer inside changes one split wave's path relative to the other, and the difference causes the recombined wave to partially dim. With a large enough shift between the split paths, the recombined wave can vanish entirely in what is known as total destructive interference.

Kasevich's team applies this principle using not laser light but cesium atoms. As an atom is cooled to very low temperatures, below minus-459 F, its velocity slows to zero, and-due to the principles of quantum mechanics-the atom begins to behave like a wave, just as in Louis de Broglie's Nobel Prize-winning prediction of 1923. The colder and therefore slower the cesium atom becomes, the longer its wavelength. Ultimately these wave-like atoms can get so cold that they reach wavelengths comparable to visible light. And they can be split and made to recombine just as in a conventional laser interferometer, yielding the atomic interferometer.

The most bizarre property of the atomic interferometer, Kasevich says, is that total destructive interference makes atoms seem to disappear.

"Nature lets me take this atom, split it in half and bring it back together," he says. "The cesium atom is in two places at once, and nature lets it do that. You can't do that with marbles."

But matter is neither created nor destroyed. "We're manipulating the probability of where we find the matter in space," Kasevich clarifies.

Substituting an atomic interferometer for a conventional one inside an airplane's ring-laser gyroscope would yield an atomic gyroscope. The atomic gyroscope, if it could be produced at a portable size, would be a desirable replacement for ring-laser gyroscopes because the older technology loses accuracy in gauging the airplane's location to the tune of about 1 mile (1852 meters) per hour. By comparison, an atomic sensor could lead to drifts of around 16 feet (5 meters) per hour-three one-thousandths of the error.

G attracts Kasevich's interest

Besides their potential for improving navigation accuracy, Kasevich's atomic interferometers or sensors also are sensitive enough to detect changes in the split wave induced by gravity. The level of sensitivity is fine enough to be able to detect changes in gravity at levels below one part per billion. Gravity is the longest known of all fundamental physical forces. Kasevich's group continues to work to refine the atomic sensors in hopes of measuring Newton's gravitational constant G beyond the level of precision at which it has been measured-a figure that has not improved much since British natural philosopher Henry Cavendish published the first measurement more than two centuries ago.

"We want to add our voice to the chorus of 'What is G really?"' says Kasevich.

Another mystery that ultracold atoms may help solve is Einstein's equivalence principle, which to date hasn't been proved or refuted. In his equivalence principle, Einstein asserted the gravitation experienced while standing on a massive body, such as Earth, is the same as the pseudo-force experienced by an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. Just like a spinning dancer's body causes her skirt to twirl, the revolving Earth drags space and time around it, providing the frame of reference from which we determine positions and movements.

An ongoing experiment to test this principle is set up in a 10-meter-tall tube installed in the basement of the Varian Physics Building at Stanford. It employs isotopes-atoms of a chemical element with the same atomic number and nearly identical chemical behavior but with different atomic masses. Two different isotopes of rubidium are cooled to ultralow temperature and released into free fall. The wave-like atoms fall very slowly, "like releasing a fistful of sand," Kasevich says. If the two isotopes, which have slightly different masses, accelerate at differing rates as measured with atomic interferometry, this means the principle of equivalence fails.

The implications are profound, Kasevich says. "If Einstein's equivalence principle doesn't hold, that means that we would have to rethink the law of physics at a very basic level."


Mark Kasevich, Physics: (650) 723-4356,


The symposium will take place Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Hilton San Francisco, 333 O'Farrell St., San Francisco, CA 94102, Continental Ballroom 3. A photo of Kasevich is available on the web at




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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 10:42 am    Post subject: Papers Reveal Newton's Religious Side Reply with quote

Papers Reveal Newton's Religious Side
By Matti Friedman, Associated Press

posted: 19 June 2007 09:57 am ET

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Three-century-old manuscripts by Isaac Newton calculating the exact date of the apocalypse, detailing the precise dimensions of the ancient temple in Jerusalem and interpreting passages of the Bible -- exhibited this week for the first time -- lay bare the little-known religious intensity of a man many consider history's greatest scientist.

Newton, who died 280 years ago, is known for laying much of the groundwork for modern physics, astronomy, math and optics. But in a new Jerusalem exhibit, he appears as a scholar of deep faith who also found time to write on Jewish law -- even penning a few phrases in careful Hebrew letters -- and combing the Old Testament's Book of Daniel for clues about the world's end.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:46 pm    Post subject: Einstein's Warping Found Around Neutron Stars Reply with quote

Einstein's Warping Found Around Neutron Stars
By Staff

posted: 27 August 2007 12:57 pm ET

Einstein's predicted warping of space-time has been discovered around neutron stars, the most dense observable matter in the universe.

The warping shows up as smeared lines of iron gas whipping around the stars, University of Michigan and NASA astronomers say. The finding also indicates a size limit for the celestial objects.

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