Testing Einstein's E=mc2 in outer space

Jan 04, 2013 by Daniel Stolte
According to the Theory of General Relativity, objects curve the space around them. UA physicist Andrei Lebed has proposed an experiment using a space probe carrying hydrogen atoms to test his finding that the equation E=mc2 is correct in flat space, but not in curved space. Credit: NASA

(Phys.org)—University of Arizona physicist Andrei Lebed has stirred the physics community with an intriguing idea yet to be tested experimentally: The world's most iconic equation, Albert Einstein's E=mc2, may be correct or not depending on where you are in space.

With the first explosions of atomic bombs, the world became witness to one of the most important and consequential principles in physics: Energy and , fundamentally speaking, are the same thing and can, in fact, be converted into each other.

This was first demonstrated by 's and famously expressed in his iconic equation, E=mc2, where E stands for energy, m for mass and c for the (squared).

Although physicists have since validated Einstein's equation in countless experiments and calculations, and many technologies including mobile phones and depend on it, University of Arizona physics professor Andrei Lebed has stirred the physics community by suggesting that E=mc2 may not hold up in certain circumstances.

The key to Lebed's argument lies in the very concept of mass itself. According to accepted paradigm, there is no difference between the mass of a moving object that can be defined in terms of its inertia, and the mass bestowed on that object by a gravitational field. In simple terms, the former, also called , is what causes a car's fender to bend upon impact of another vehicle, while the latter, called gravitational mass, is commonly referred to as "weight."

This between the inertial and gravitational masses, introduced in by and in by Albert Einstein, has been confirmed with a very high level of accuracy. "But my calculations show that beyond a certain probability, there is a very small but real chance the equation breaks down for a gravitational mass," Lebed said.

If one measures the weight of quantum objects, such as a hydrogen atom, often enough, the result will be the same in the vast majority of cases, but a tiny portion of those measurements give a different reading, in apparent violation of E=mc2. This has physicists puzzled, but it could be explained if gravitational mass was not the same as inertial mass, which is a paradigm in physics.

"Most physicists disagree with this because they believe that gravitational mass exactly equals inertial mass," Lebed said. "But my point is that gravitational mass may not be equal to inertial mass due to some quantum effects in General Relativity, which is Einstein's theory of gravitation. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever proposed this before."

Lebed presented his calculations and their ramifications at the Marcel Grossmann Meeting in Stockholm last summer, where the community greeted them with equal amounts of skepticism and curiosity. Held every three years and attended by about 1,000 scientists from around the world, the conference focuses on theoretical and experimental General Relativity, astrophysics and relativistic field theories. Lebed's results will be published in the conference proceedings in February.

In the meantime, Lebed has invited his peers to evaluate his calculations and suggested an experiment to test his conclusions, which he published in the world's largest collection of preprints at Cornell University Library (see More Info).

"The most important problem in physics is the Unifying Theory of Everything – a theory that can describe all forces observed in nature," said Lebed. "The main problem toward such a theory is how to unite relativistic quantum mechanics and gravity. I try to make a connection between quantum objects and General Relativity."

The key to understand Lebed's reasoning is gravitation. On paper at least, he showed that while E=mc2 always holds true for inertial mass, it doesn't always for gravitational mass.

"What this probably means is that gravitational mass is not the same as inertial," he said.

According to Einstein, gravitation is a result of a curvature in space itself. Think of a mattress on which several objects have been laid out, say, a ping pong ball, a baseball and a bowling ball. The ping pong ball will make no visible dent, the baseball will make a very small one and the bowling ball will sink into the foam. Stars and planets do the same thing to space. The larger an object's mass, the larger of a dent it will make into the fabric of space.

The simplest atom found in nature, hydrogen, consists only of a nucleus orbited by one electron. Lebed's calculations indicate that the electron can jump to a higher energy level only where space is curved. Photons emitted during those energy-switching events (wavy arrow) could be detected to test the idea.

In other words, the more mass, the stronger the gravitational pull. In this conceptual model of gravitation, it is easy to see how a small object, like an asteroid wandering through space, eventually would get caught in the depression of a planet, trapped in its gravitational field.

"Space has a curvature," Lebed said, "and when you move a mass in space, this curvature disturbs this motion."

According to the UA physicist, the curvature of space is what makes gravitational mass different from inertial mass.

Lebed suggested to test his idea by measuring the weight of the simplest quantum object: a single hydrogen atom, which only consists of a nucleus, a single proton and a lone electron orbiting the nucleus.

Because he expects the effect to be extremely small, lots of hydrogen atoms would be needed.

Here is the idea:

On a rare occasion, the electron whizzing around the atom's nucleus jumps to a higher energy level, which can roughly be thought of as a wider orbit. Within a short time, the electron falls back onto its previous energy level. According to E=mc2, the hydrogen atom's mass will change along with the change in energy level.

So far, so good. But what would happen if we moved that same atom away from Earth, where space is no longer curved, but flat?

You guessed it: The electron could not jump to higher energy levels because in flat space it would be confined to its primary energy level. There is no jumping around in flat space.

"In this case, the electron can occupy only the first level of the hydrogen atom," Lebed explained. "It doesn't feel the curvature of gravitation."

"Then we move it close to Earth's gravitational field, and because of the curvature of space, there is a probability of that electron jumping from the first level to the second. And now the mass will be different."

"People have done calculations of energy levels here on Earth, but that gives you nothing because the curvature stays the same, so there is no perturbation," Lebed said. "But what they didn't take into account before that opportunity of that electron to jump from the first to the second level because the curvature disturbs the atom."

"Instead of measuring weight directly, we would detect these energy switching events, which would make themselves known as emitted photons – essentially, light," he explained.

Lebed suggested the following experiment to test his hypothesis: Send a small spacecraft with a tank of hydrogen and a sensitive photo detector onto a journey into space.

In outer space, the relationship between mass and energy is the same for the atom, but only because the flat space doesn't permit the electron to change energy levels.

"When we're close to Earth, the curvature of space disturbs the atom, and there is a probability for the electron to jump, thereby emitting a photon that is registered by the detector," he said.

Depending on the , the relationship between mass and energy is no longer fixed under the influence of a .

Lebed said the spacecraft would not have to go very far.

"We'd have to send the probe out two or three times the radius of Earth, and it will work."

According to Lebed, his work is the first proposition to test the combination of quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of gravity in the solar system.

"There are no direct tests on the marriage of those two theories," he said. " It is important not only from the point of view that gravitational mass is not equal to inertial mass, but also because many see this marriage as some kind of monster. I would like to test this marriage. I want to see whether it works or not."

Explore further: Optimum inertial self-propulsion design for snowman-like nanorobot

More information: The details of Andrei Lebed's calculations are published in three preprint papers with Cornell University Library:

xxx.lanl.gov/abs/1111.5365
xxx.lanl.gov/abs/1205.3134
xxx.lanl.gov/abs/1208.5756

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antialias_physorg
3.8 / 5 (8) Jan 04, 2013
Interesting - and since the expriment seems rathr simple it shouldn't take long to make room for it (if nothing else then on seom CubeSat)

However gravity not only deforms space but spacetime (gravity slows apparent time) - so the number of jumps from low to high orbital within a gravity field should be slightly lower than expected. I wonder if this might offset (or even cancel out) the higher number of expected jumps in his experiment.
Whydening Gyre
2.1 / 5 (15) Jan 04, 2013
AP - I believe what he actually thinks is that there will be NO energy jumps in flat space... His hypothesis is that curvature of space time is what enables the energy jumps... but maybe I'm interpreting the article incorrectly...
Valeria's "flow" metaphor of water ripples seems increasingly appropriate...
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (7) Jan 04, 2013
Since there's no real flat space (gravity just drops with the square of the distance) it seems like there should always be a certain rate at which atoms go to the higher, excited state - if the mechanism is as he proposes.

Also it might be worth looking at black holes for telltale signatures of inordinately increased rates of emission - though that one might be hard to differentiate given that there are a whole slew of very energetic/photon producing mechanisms going on in that vicinity.

In the end it's just on of those things that are relatively easy to test.
(possibly even just looking at the differences in an aparatus on a high flying plane vs. one submerged in the ocean might be enough - depending on what the average rate of such events is and how much hydrogen you use)
cantdrive85
1.9 / 5 (14) Jan 04, 2013
"...Supposing that the bodies act upon the surrounding space causing curving of the same, it appears to my simple mind that the curved spaces must react on the bodies, and producing the opposite effects, straightening out the curves. Since action and reaction are coexistent, it follows that the supposed curvature of space is entirely impossible - But even if it existed it would not explain the motions of the bodies, as observed." Nikola Tesla
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 04, 2013
it appears to my simple mind that the curved spaces must react on the bodies

If you look at the math (principle of least action) then massive bodies can't straighten paths. The path a massive body takes in a warped spacetime IS straight. Always. (notice: 'spacetime - not 'space'. So we're talking about worldlines here)

That's what general relativity is about (actually space bending is no the pinciple of the minimum action. Minimal time dilation is - which renders the straightest possible path through spacetime. The path an object will take is thus that the time it takes is shortest)
http://en.wikiped...operties
Quote: "there is no gravitational force deflecting objects from their natural, straight paths. Instead, gravity corresponds to changes in the properties of space and time, which in turn changes the straightest-possible paths that objects will naturally follow"
ValeriaT
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 04, 2013
To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever proposed this before."
But we know already, the dark matter violates the equivalence principle. The general relativity considers, the gravity field of massive body has some energy of curved space-time assigned. But dense objects would exhibit higher curvature of space-time, than the more sparse one. Because the energy can be expressed like mass density by E=mc2, we can recognize easily, the dense object would gain mass the more, the more dense it will be (which is essentially the reason, why massive objects do collapse, after all..). In another words, the general relativity could explain, why massive objects tend to gravitational collapse, but this explanation would violate the equivalence principle at the same moment...
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 04, 2013
Since there's no real flat space (gravity just drops with the square of the distance) it seems like there should always be a certain rate at which atoms go to the higher, excited state - if the mechanism is as he proposes.


You could test that easy enough by just re-doing the experiment for every increase of 1 Earth radius out from the Earth to see if there is some relationship. However, to get a good sample you might need to do the experiment a few hundred times at each location. Suggests you'd need an ion engine craft so you can speed up and slow down before orbital distances change too much too quickly.
ValeriaT
1.7 / 5 (11) Jan 04, 2013
The electron could not jump to higher energy levels because in flat space it would be confined to its primary energy level. There is no jumping around in flat space
It means, the electron of given energy will jump to high energy levels faster in gravity field so that the time will flow faster for such a electron, not slower as general relativity predicts.
because many see this marriage as some kind of monster
It's rather complementary. The atoms in gravity field will spontaneously decompose in more dense vacuum around black holes like raisins in honey. It's low scale spaghettization. But they will still radiate reddish light, just because their energy levels would shrink in such an environment. Does the time runs faster or slower for such an atoms?
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 04, 2013
the dense object would gain mass the more, the more dense it will be (which is essentially the reason, why massive objects do collapse, after all..)

Erm. No. Dense objects collapse because there are no forces that can sustain an equilibrium state (e.g. in stars where the temperature drops beyond the threshold for sustaining enough fusion to keep pumping out photons). Dense/collapsing ojects do not gain mass. They just become more dense.

Neither inertial nor gravitational mass changes during collapse (let the sun collapse to a black hole and the Earth's orbit would be totally unaffected. The inertial and gravitational mass would still be the same) so there is no violation of the equivalence principle, here.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (10) Jan 04, 2013
Dense/collapsing objects do not gain mass. They just become more dense.
More dense object of certain mass will exhibit higher curvature of space-time around it - yes or not? Higher curvature of space-time has higher energy density assigned by relativity equations - yes or not? Higher energy density corresponds the higher mass density by E=mc^2 formula - yes or not? It's the space-time which is gaining mass - not the object itself. At the case of very dense or very large objects the mass density of space-time formed in this way becomes observable as so-called dark matter.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (10) Jan 04, 2013
After all, the trivial violation of general relativity can be observed for every massive body: the highest gravity force (and space-time curvature) exists right at the surface of massive object - not at its center, as general relativity considers. This trivial fact violates the equivalence principle too - well, locally. The gravity force function apparently doesn't follow the inertial density function of the object.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Jan 04, 2013
More dense object of certain mass will exhibit higher curvature of space-time around it - yes or not?

At their point: Yes. Further out? No. Replace the Earth with a singularity of Earth mass. The gravity characteristic outside what is now Earth radius wil be identical.

It's the space-time which is gaining mass - not the object itself.

Spacetime doesn't 'gain mass'. That's just blurb.

At the case of very dense or very large objects the mass density of space-time formed in this way becomes observable as so-called dark matter.

That's just more baseless blurb.
This trivial fact violates the equivalence principle too - well, locally.

No, because the volume integral over the exact center of a massive sphere is zero - so OF COURSE will there be no gravity force there.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (10) Jan 04, 2013
The gravity characteristic outside what is now Earth radius will be identical
You're essentially saying, if we would shrink the mass of Earth into Schwarzchild radius, the event horizon couldn't be formed, because the curvature of space-time around Earth would remain the same..;-) Try to imagine, you shrink the whole Earth (for which the space-time curvature is quite low) into volume of tiny dense black hole. A nearly infinite space-time curvature will be reached there. At given mass the curvature of space-time around massive objects quite apparently depends on the density of object. You didn't follow general relativity very carefully at school, huh?
At any case, at the moment when curvature of space-time (and gravitational force) depends on another parameters, than just bare mass of object, an equivalence principle gets violated there.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (10) Jan 04, 2013
Spacetime doesn't 'gain mass'. That's just blurb.
This is just what the dark matter is called...;-) The energy density of curved space-time, which manifests itself with mass density and weak gravitational lensing effects. At the case of large massive objects (like the galaxies) the highest curvature of space-time is just at their surface and it manifests itself with rotational curves of stars, which are flying at the perimeter of galaxy.
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (6) Jan 04, 2013
Spacetime doesn't 'gain mass'. That's just blurb.
This is just what the dark matter is called...;-) The energy density of curved space-time, which manifests itself with mass density and weak gravitational lensing effects.


Might be important to consider the inherent negative energy density of "empty" spacetime too. Although I'm sure this has been accounted for. OR perhaps on such small scales this is so negligible as to be simply ignored?

It seems to be hard to take into consideration ALL the variables that are in nature. I do think that the first comment on the thread may indeed point to a variable that might not have been considered.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (11) Jan 04, 2013
consider the inherent negative energy density of "empty" spacetime too
The dark matter still exhibits the positive lensing effects. It just exhibit the negative gravitational charge. That is to say, it's attracted to areas with negative curvature of space-time, which exist just around massive bodies.
ValeriaT
1.6 / 5 (14) Jan 04, 2013
IMO we are observing the higher number of particle decomposition in gravity field at the center of our Milky Way. The typical quantum phenomena like the annihilations are accelerated with gravity field. The excitation of electrons inside of atoms is just a weak example of matter decomposition into energy. I presume most of matter will decompose before it can reach the even horizon of black holes. Which means, the large black holes cannot form with accretion of matter, but it's different story.

Yes, it is complicated - so we should use mental shortcuts and intuitive reasoning. The derivations based on pile of equations are nice, but they're nontransparent and it can bring its own errors into reasoning.
cyberCMDR
not rated yet Jan 04, 2013
Since we are comparing ground based probabilities of energy level changes against this experiment, couldn't the higher levels of radiation in space complicate things?
Maggnus
3.9 / 5 (11) Jan 04, 2013
Wow ValeriaT you really (really!) should take some physics classes.
You may also want to consider how this researcher presented his case:
I think I found something odd when doing some calculations.
These are may calculations, can you all check them.
My calculations might be suggesting this odd thing I mentioned.
If I am right we might be able to see some sign of it if we do this.

See how that works?

Yes, it is complicated - so we should use mental shortcuts and intuitive reasoning.


No, we shouldn't! In fact, hell no we shouldn't! Because it's complicated you should be going exactly the opposite way of what you say here; that is STOP be so lazy using "mental shortcuts" and put away your useless "intuitive reasoning" and work out the actual answer. Your own answers found this way may surprise you.
TheKnowItAll
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2013
Wouldn't make sense to send it in a collision course with the Sun? Let gravity do its work while performing tests at intervals until the device goes poof.
Q-Star
4.1 / 5 (14) Jan 04, 2013
so we should use mental shortcuts and intuitive reasoning


That doesn't seem to have served you very well.
vacuum-mechanics
1 / 5 (11) Jan 04, 2013
According to the Theory of General Relativity, objects curve the space around them.

This is what we always hear, but what which we never herd is how empty space could be curved! Maybe this physical view could help us to understand it.
http://www.vacuum...18〈=en
VendicarD
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2013
The question is does Mi = Mg.

The answer is no, provided the speed of g = c.

Mg is defined not only by Mi but by the self energy of the gravitational field that it Mi generates.

Since this energy is distributed through space, so too is Mg. Yet Mi is measured as a much more local phenomenon which on small scales is dominated by quantum effects.

Mi as measured by impacts then will differ from Mg since the impacts only change the extended field of Mg slowly over time.

The only alternative is to conclude that Mi can not be measured unless the cumulative effects of the experiment used to do the measurement are done through the entire future of the universe.

Precise definitions of Mi and Mg are needed to make more precise statements.
VendicarD
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2013
Both gravitational and electric fields are statistical in nature. There is no reason for those statistics to be correlated on small time scales.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (4) Jan 04, 2013
If the EP didn't work in space, we would have no reionization and interstellar hydrogen would be ground state.

Also, the Standard Model of particles works on the strong equivalence principle, that all laws of physics locally look the same as in flat space. The SM "space" here is an appropriate fiber-bundle on an appropriate 4-manifold. I hear particle physicists would rather give up unitarity of gravity than the equivalence principle, now that BH "firewalls" is a gedanken problem. (See Sean Carroll's blog.)

@ Valeria: "dark matter violates the equivalence principle." What is ascertained without evidence can be rejected without evidence. (Actually DM lives under gravity, sams as visible matter, in the standard cosmology.)

@ Modernmystic: "the inherent negative energy density of "empty" spacetime". Standard cosmology spacetime is flat, zero energy density. It is the particle vacuum that has negative energy density.

@ vacuum-mechanics: Science is no reason to start spout anti-science.
ValeriaT
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 04, 2013
Actually DM lives under gravity, same as visible matter, in the standard cosmology
This is just a speculation of yours - for example, we know about so-called dark galaxies, which do not contain any observable matter - yet they're full of dark matter. The amount of DM is detected just by its violation from general relativity theory. At the moment, the dark matter cannot be predicted with general relativity which is equivalence principle based, then it violates equivalence principle. I'm not so sure, if you're realizing it clearly, because your attitude toward mainstream theories is apparently very religious.
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (9) Jan 04, 2013
No, we shouldn't! In fact, hell no we shouldn't! Because it's complicated you should be going exactly the opposite way of what you say here; that is STOP be so lazy using "mental shortcuts" and put away your useless "intuitive reasoning" and work out the actual answer.
Let me decide, what is optimal approach and what is not. I'm aware, that scientific community has nowhere to hurry, being payed with tax payers money - so it's not motivated into finding of transparent explanations, but most exact description (dtto Feynman's WHY versus HOW question). This is indeed a difference, because my existence is not tax payers money based.
PosterusNeticus
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
scientific community has nowhere to hurry, being payed with tax payers money - so it's not motivated into finding of transparent explanations


A common delusion among the pseudo-scientific community is this notion of a global conspiracy. People like Valeria genuinely believe scientists deliberately choose not to be successful and noteworthy in their fields because in doing so they would somehow lose out on the low salaries most scientists are paid.

No, of course it doesn't make any sense. The interesting question is, why does it make sense to people like him?

It's easy to brush it off as a failure of education, but I don't think that's a complete answer. There's more than ignorance at work in him and those like him. There's always a deeply rooted vein of paranoia in their almost religious devotion to the crackpots and scammers of pseudo-science. I tend to think it's a mild form of mental illness; they're miswired for excess paranoia.
ValeriaT
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 05, 2013
people like Valeria genuinely believe scientists deliberately choose not to be successful and noteworthy in their fields because in doing so they would somehow lose out on the low salaries most scientists are paid
I'm not forced to speculate about it: Prof. Robert Wilson, a former president of American Physical Society publicly expressed such an opinion before some time (Physics Today: vol. 39, p. 26, July 1986). Of course it isn't conspiracy, rather underlying motivation. The Germans in Nazi Germany weren't in conspiracy with Hitler against Jews. Many of them desired the Jewish property in their neighborhood - so they were a thankful listeners of Hitler's ideas. Although Wilson was a head of APS mafia for many years, he just expressed hidden opinion of many physicists in this matter. He doesn't need organize any conspiracy, as the twenty years standing denial of cold fusion finding demonstrates clearly.
ValeriaT
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
According to this study, physicists are the sixth-highest-earning group of graduates, with a median salary of $98,800 (just under £60k) after at least 10 years in the workforce. Starting salaries for physicists aren't bad either: $51,100, or a respectable 14th on the same list of 75 different subjects. According U.S. Department of Labor physicists make a mean wage of $53.86 per hour or $112,020 per year, with medians in the range $28.30 per hour or $58,850 per year to over $80 an hour or over $166,400 per year. But the problem is not only about salary, but in the absence of public feedback about their work, which enables the physicists to boycott important scientific findings for years without any risk.
Maggnus
3.5 / 5 (8) Jan 05, 2013
Valeria, do you understand that you are on a scientific website? It is not up to you to decide what is the optimal approach and what is not. Why? Because that is not science!
You link to a Feynman interview, or more precisely a soliloquy in a much larger interview, immediately after you make such a statement, yet by the very statement you make, you show you do not understand what he is saying!
ValeriaT
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
The claiming "you do not understand this or this" is scientific argument neither. What the science is or not is the matter of your private opinion neither.
Maggnus
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 05, 2013
What the science is or not is the matter of your private opinion neither.


I agree, and I am not in any way suggesting it is! The scientific method has evolved into what it is over many many years. There is good reason that it is done the way it is.
ValeriaT
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
I'm not talking about scientific method and its definition (albeit it's flexible often). What I'm saying is about judging whether some particular case belongs into science or not. I'm not doubting the definition of planets, but you credence to judge whether the Pluto is planet or not.

What the contemporary people don't understand at all is, the violations of general relativity with quantum mechanics and vice-versa isn't some matter of some esoteric physics at the whole boundary of our observational limits. The transition between quantum mechanics and general relativity is continuous and it goes just through human observer scale, because the quantum mechanics manifests itself bellow millimeter scale (magnetic domain), the general relativity above the million kilometer scale (gravity lensing). The mutual violation of these two theories therefore cannot happen somewhere at the cosmological or Planck scale - but primarily right here - at the quite common scale of human observers.
ValeriaT
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
This is an example of consistent scientific reasoning, but the acceptation of contemporary theories is much closer to religious adoration. Even the motivation is the same: these theories provide jobs for many physicists in the same way, like the religion provides the income for priests. Being leaded with physicists, the people simply believe, the validity scope of both theories is nearly universal, although even the trivial common life experience says, it cannot be possible. We don't observe any gravitational lensing, we don't observe any quantum waves around us. The key in understanding how these two theories are connected therefore begins at the human observer scale where both theories are violated heavily already - not at the esoteric scales of the best accelerators and telescopes. But such approach doesn't play well with motivation of contemporary physicists from many reasons, which aren't difficult to guess.
ValeriaT
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
At first, if we admit, that the mainstream theories are violated heavily just at the human observer scale, then it diminishes the social authority of scientists, high school teachers and whole the math rigor, which they designed and learned for years. So far these people pretend or even believe, these two theories can compute everything and just their mutual combination may lead into design of theory of everything ("theories are correct and verified with experiments, we just need more math and this is exactly, what we can do very well"). The second reason is, the seeking for mainstream theories violation at the boundaries of observer scale naturally requires more powerful colliders and telescopes, the building of which provides many job places even outside of science. There is no social need of simple table top experiments and logical thoughts, which every kid could replicate. In this way the rest of people remains permanently fooled with scientists who just avoid the lost of job.
Maggnus
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2013
No, I didn't "credence to judge" Pluto's status. Its status was decided by a panel of very smart and dedicated people who looked at a whole raft of ideas from many different people over a period of years, and then, taking into account all of the best information available to them, made a series of judgments that resulted in Pluto being recategorized. So were Ceres, and Makemake,and a number of others. That is how science works!

The rest of your comment is incomprehensible.
Maggnus
1 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2013
Water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. What if someone says, "Well, that's not how I choose to think about water."? All we can do is appeal to scientific values. And if he doesn't share those values, the conversation is over. If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?

-Sam Harris
Whydening Gyre
1.5 / 5 (13) Jan 05, 2013
What the science is or not is the matter of your private opinion neither.


I agree, and I am not in any way suggesting it is! The scientific method has evolved into what it is over many many years. There is good reason that it is done the way it is.

Operative word - evolved. Which, by definition, means it will continue to do so ad infinitum. Which also means there are infinite variables involved that shape that evolution. To say "science" has at this point reached it's highest and most complete state and cannot evolve further, is to say we hve covered ALL those variables and know all there is about whatever it is.

Wrong.
ValeriaT
2.7 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?
Yep, exactly. If the scientists don't value the logic, only the math equations (which were itself derived with using of this logics too, btw) - how one could convince them into using of logic with logical arguments? For example, the equations describing the motion of planets in heliocentric and geocentric models are very different, yet they provide the same results. How to convince the people, that one kind of equations is better than the another, when they don't consider anything, which cannot be computed in many orders of precision?
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2013
You're essentially saying, if we would shrink the mass of Earth into Schwarzchild radius, the event horizon couldn't be formed, because the curvature of space-time around Earth would remain the same..

Huh? Of course you'd get an event horizon - at about a centimeter distance from the singularity as seen from the outside (from the inside distance are more tricky). But if you go to the distance where the original Earth's surface was you'd experience 1g (and further out you'd experience exactly the same g forces that you experience now when moving away from Earth. E.g. the Moon would stay in the same orbit.

I'm aware, that scientific community has nowhere to hurry, being payed with tax payers money

You really don't understand what motivates a scientist, do you? You are so petty that you think money is the only motivation there is? If scientists could afford to subsist they would PAY institutions to allow them to go there and do science.
frajo
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2013
Which, by definition, means it will continue to do so ad infinitum. Which also means there are infinite variables involved that shape that evolution.

I don't like the use of terms like "infinity" and "infinite" in this thoughtless manner.
First, we know that the sun will not continue to shine forever.
Second, there is no reason to assume an infinite number of variables just because something is supposed to "evolve" forever. That something could as well be a system with a finite number of states.
Third, science is a special kind of gathering knowledge. All its knowledge is based upon the principle of falsification which is superior - in the sense of certainty - to any other principle we know of. This principle is one of the things that won't go extinct as you suggest by your improper use of the term "evolution".
ValeriaT
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 05, 2013
But if you go to the distance where the original Earth's surface was you'd experience 1g (and further out you'd experience exactly the same g forces that you experience now when moving away from Earth.
This is speculative assumption (actually portion - roughly one half - of Earth would evaporate into energy during it), but nobody even doubts it for now. But because the curvature of space-time around shrinked Earth will be different, we have an apparent problem here: what makes the energy of gravity field/space-time curvature, if the gravity field at the distance from Earth remained unchanged? How this energy will be distributed?
You are so petty that you think money is the only motivation there is?
I'm talking about jobs and occupation, not money. The scientists simply want to continue in their research at any price, despite it can be dangerous for the rest of human civilization or ignorant toward another findings. In this case we should say clearly, who is paying who.
Whydening Gyre
1.6 / 5 (12) Jan 05, 2013
I don't like the use of terms like "infinity" and "infinite" in this thoughtless manner.
First, we know that the sun will not continue to shine forever.
Second, there is no reason to assume an infinite number of variables just because something is supposed to "evolve" forever. That something could as well be a system with a finite number of states.
Third, science is a special kind of gathering knowledge. All its knowledge is based upon the principle of falsification which is superior - in the sense of certainty - to any other principle we know of. This principle is one of the things that won't go extinct as you suggest by your improper use of the term "evolution".

Not used improperly - just defined improperly. Let's use the more appropriate - change.
"Science" is about determining the level of change that is no longer perceptable in an object/thing/particle(if you will), and then pronouncing that definition to be the end of all change for the studied object.
Whydening Gyre
1.4 / 5 (11) Jan 05, 2013
(cont)
It is about the DEFINITIION of change.

IMHO the absolute basic state of the Universe is nothing. Or - no change. Since the most basic LAW of the Universe is - change, the basic algorythm or mechanic of this is what we should pursue. Science approaches this thru the examination of the PARTICLES that are created and therefore affected by this state and law.
Want a TOE? Never gonna find it using current method.
However, like everything else - methods change...:-)
Whydening Gyre
1.4 / 5 (11) Jan 05, 2013
By the way - when I say change, I mean, more definitively, the transfer of energy or even just the potential of energy...

We look at an object or concept and examine to determine if there are constituent parts or processes that contributed to that "finished product". When we can't SEE any further reductions, we declare it to be absolute.
Anyway, these are just my own observations, therefore causing me to reach conclusions by definition. One thing I am absolutely certain of, though - Even those will change...
baudrunner
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
Nothing in the article violates any principles on which my theory relating to the behavior of gravity is based: simply put - matter displaces space, and gravity is like a giant elastic web with objects moving about in it.

The evidence that hydrogen atoms will exhibit different dimensions in different places in outer space can be used to determine the universal static reference point, given that Earth is just a frame of reference, not the actual artifact. Our very motion through space contributes to our mass, and depending on the seasons alone, H2 should exhibit subtle differences in mass because direction of orbit changes. Then, of course, there is the motion of the sun around the galactic center, and the galaxy's motion through the universe, and over all their respective relationships with other masses.
Maggnus
3.3 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
@Whydening Gyre - First, I used the word "evolved" for a reason. I may be mis-interpreting your comment, but to be clear, no where did I say things were now static. And they are definitely not perfect. But is HAS reached its highest and most advanced state TO DATE. As for your follow up comments, I am not entirely sure where you are trying to go with it but I will sat that IF there is a TOE, then its chance of being revealed is, in fact, going to arise through the scientific method.

@Valeria - and again, you show your lack of understanding. You continue to champion aether (for example) even after you have been shown not only that it does not work, but why it does not work. Where is the logic in that?
ValeriaT
2 / 5 (8) Jan 05, 2013
How have I been shown, that the aether model doesn't work? Where is the logic in that?
Maggnus
2 / 5 (4) Jan 05, 2013
Yes Valeria, that's how you choose to feel about it.
ValeriaT
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
I don't feel anything, logical arguments the less. Should I?
julianpenrod
2.1 / 5 (11) Jan 05, 2013
In fact, the article is wrong when it claims that the explosion of atomic weapons demonstrated Einstein's mass and energy equation. In fact, they do not. Atomic explosions come from the destabilizing of nuceli from the inclusion of or bombardement by other particles. It is then the electrostatic repulsion of like sharged protons which causes the atom to split. The only "verification" could come if you gathered up every last mirco portion of energy related to the explosion and compared this with the precisely verified mass of the original fissile material and the remaining material. That was never done. Atomic bombs do prove prove the equation. More, mobile phones and GPS devices do not rely on supposed equivalence of energy and matter.
julianpenrod
2.1 / 5 (11) Jan 05, 2013
And, remember, the equation comes from a formula for the supposed "relativistic" kinetic energy of a moving particle, with rest mass times speed of light squared acting as a zero point. But nothing says it represent actual energy. And, at that, the formula was derived from a kinematic situation. There is absolutely no reason to think that the, frankly, more or less canonical idea of "energy of movement of mass" is equivalent, say, to energy of a photon.
Undeterminable
5 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2013
I was under the impression that this is a known fact that E=mc^2 is m for inertial mass which changes with speed by the same equation as time dilation.

Also inertial mass is not the same as gravitational mass because inertia is relative but gravity is not.
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (9) Jan 06, 2013
I was under the impression that this is a known fact that E=mc^2 is m for inertial mass which changes with speed by the same equation as time dilation.

Also inertial mass is not the same as gravitational mass because inertia is relative but gravity is not.

But - what if (from a different scalar POV) it was?
Dont we constantly devise new methods and devices to refine our resolution of observations?
Q-Star
2.5 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2013
Also inertial mass is not the same as gravitational mass because inertia is relative but gravity is not.


But - what if (from a different scalar POV) it was?


Because gravity is not a scalar quantity, is a force quantity, it solved with the field equations. So E = mc^2, with no other terms only works for inertial reference frames, frames not experiencing significant acceleration or gravitational forces.

Once something is affected by gravity (or acceleration), it is no longer in an inertial frame.



Ducklet
1 / 5 (3) Jan 06, 2013
I assume most energy level changes to hydrogen in a lab on the earth surface will be caused by exchange of kinetic (thermal) energy. So the hydrogen sent into space would have to be under exactly the same pressure and temperature as the control on earth. Then only cosmic radiation would differ, and I assume that could be measured alongside the experiment and factored out from the results. Or readings could be taken in space at different distances from earth, well clear of our atmosphere and magnetic field. The difference would be gravitational energy exchange. There are many wells though - the sun, earth, and moon at least would be considered I'd assume.
EyeNStein
1 / 5 (5) Jan 06, 2013
Surely since gravity is an inverse square law a protons weight would vary in its own tiny local gravity field if this was an issue to even a tiny extent.
vincepaul_13
not rated yet Jan 06, 2013
"Lebed's calculations indicate that the electron can jump to a higher energy level only where space is curved. Photons emitted during those energy-switching events (wavy arrow) could be detected to test the idea."

Perhaps this was merely badly phrased. Photons are emitted as a surplus of energy when electrons revert from a higher energy to a lower energy state. Orbital electrons _absorb_ energy to move from a lower to a higher energy state. I can understand that this is a "paired" event, where the increase in energy state is transient, and inevitably reverts, so that the photon emission is preceded by the low-to-high event, but the energy for that event comes from _somewhere_, possibly including photons, which might throw off the calculations of mass accretion if not properly accounted for. Anyone else catch this?
Pet_mar
1 / 5 (3) Jan 06, 2013
@ValeriaT - the equations describing the motion of planets in
heliocentric and geocentric models are very different,
yet they provide the same results.

In fact, the geocentric model did only show the motion of the planets
and some stars.
This model was quite complicated and I believe it would not work for an infinite
period of time.
Ancient astronomers told about fixed stars, which, as we know, move as well.
The model is wrong - it is not able to describe the dependencies
(forces, distances) between the objects, not only because the physical
laws were not known at the time yet.
The Copernican system (heliocentric) is simpler, although rouhgly,
explains not only movement of the plantes,
but it complies with the Newtons law of gravitaion.
Pet_mar
1 / 5 (4) Jan 06, 2013
Simple is beauty.
I believe that Einsteins equation giving the relation between mass and energy, although verified by many experiments, can not describe all what happens
in the Universe (if there is only one).
Einsteins theory has problems when approaching the limits (speed of light).
We don't have objects with endlessly large mass.
It can not describe the Big bang from time 0.0.
If we have more Universies, why should the time start by the Big bang.
Many look at the Big bang as an expansion (transformation) of space.
But this does not explain all the chemical reactions that occur
in the universe.
The Universe changed quantitatively, not only expanded/expands.
For the live on the Earth to occur there is needed mattery,
some form(s) of energy. According to Einstein, we can say mattery with
precisely regulated temperature.
But there are needed chemical, electrical, etc processes as well.
Pet_mar
1 / 5 (5) Jan 06, 2013
I guess it must be some kind of "experience" (in the mattery - for example
like DNA) that allows for evolution (many kinds of).

My hypothesis is that the Earth and the Universe is too complicated and it is not possible to develop a single theory for "everything" yet.
I agree with ValeriaT that mathematical equatations/models can not
override the logic. They can be suspicious if difficult or impossible to understand/explain.
It remains to see if the currently commonly accepted theories, including Einstein's will become a subset of new one(s) or replaced, in accordance to results of experiments.
I guess they will.
Maggnus
4 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2013
that mathematical equatations/models can not
override the logic


And Jesus wept......
Pet_mar
1 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2013
Well, he did not say much about science.

Really, he said, that nothing grows on rocks, but much really does.
yash17
1 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2013
E = mc2 as an equation of exothermic nuclear reaction; Yes!
E = mc2 as mass energy equivalence equation; No!

E = mc2 is derived from F = ma (Newton's laws) and E = Fd Joule's laws (d = distance).
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (9) Jan 07, 2013
Also inertial mass is not the same as gravitational mass because inertia is relative but gravity is not.


But - what if (from a different scalar POV) it was?


Because gravity is not a scalar quantity, is a force quantity, it solved with the field equations. So E = mc^2, with no other terms only works for inertial reference frames, frames not experiencing significant acceleration or gravitational forces.

Once something is affected by gravity (or acceleration), it is no longer in an inertial frame.

You are just not looking at it from a correct POV. Gravitational effects are scalar, so the source must be - just the way nature works. I posit we will discover this fairly soon given the rate of new tools being developed to determine this sort of thing
AmritSorli
1 / 5 (3) Jan 08, 2013
Inertial mass and gravitational mass are equal. They both have origin into diminished energy density of space. In outer space energy density is: (mp x c2)/Vp , in the centre of massive object energy density is: (mp x c2)/Vp - (m x c2)/V.
Q-Star
3 / 5 (10) Jan 08, 2013
You are just not looking at it from a correct POV. Gravitational effects are scalar, so the source must be - just the way nature works. I posit we will discover this fairly soon given the rate of new tools being developed to determine this sort of thing


"Gravitational effects are a force". One of the four fundamental forces. Forces by definition are vector quantities. NOT scalar. That's just the way physics are done and unless your TOE redefines physics as we now know them,,,, gravity won't stop being a force (vector rather than scalar).

Are you not an Australian? Or another Australian?
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (7) Jan 09, 2013
More Austrian than Australian... From Chicago. So - precision - balanced with a dash of optimistic open-mindedness and a little skepticism is my MO. (Maybe it was all those great hallucinogens in the 60's n 70'...)
Anyway, since gravitational effects are observed to chenge along with density and volume of matter (both scalable), I define it as scalable. If it is additive, it means scalable.
Is gravity a function of mass or the other way around?
Q-Star
2.7 / 5 (7) Jan 09, 2013
Anyway, since gravitational effects are observed to chenge along with density and volume of matter (both scalable), I define it as scalable. If it is additive, it means scalable.


Define it any way you want, but, no one will know what you are thinking. If you are postulating a new concept in physics, just say so and explain.

Is gravity a function of mass or the other way around?


Nonsensical question. One is the result of the other. And the other is the result of the one.

Gravity is a force, it has magnitude AND direction, a vector quantity, not a scalar. If you are in some space, say between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun. The gravity that you experience is not the scalar sum of the three components, it is the vector sum of the three components (with each of the them being affected by the others). It's what makes three body mechanics so difficult.

2 plus 2 won't get you there, you'll be needing some derivatives and integrals to get close to the answer.
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (7) Jan 10, 2013
Gravity is a force, it has magnitude AND direction, a vector quantity, not a scalar.

Ok, so scalar is just magnitude. Tell me the direction of gravity and.... pushing or pulling?
By giving gravity vectorable attributes, you mean it is in motion(with the attribute of direction), hence a part of a flow? Therefore, analogous in nature? To me, the only part of "direction" in gravity function is towards other gravity function which it then combines with and just increases in magnitude. That's not really a "direction", however.
Nonsensical question. One is the result of the other. And the other is the result of the one.

Kinda nonsensically cryptic answer, isn't it...?
If you are postulating a new concept in physics, just say so and explain.

Hardly. And - No need to be snide - gives the appearance of arrogance...
I am just trying to balance sensory derived conclusions and the (what appear to be) counter intuitive definitions of others more informed than I am.
Sheesh
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2013
Ok, so scalar is just magnitude. Tell me the direction of gravity and.... pushing or pulling?

See the direction of a vector. You can define it both ways (pushing or pulling) but that just depends on how you want to use the signs in the math behind it. (Though be aware: once you decide on one way you have to stick to it)

By giving gravity vectorable attributes, you mean it is in motion(with the attribute of direction), hence a part of a flow?

No. It just means that there is -at least- a gradient (first derivative of a scalar field with respect to space).

Therefore, analogous in nature?

Gravity is part of natuire. There is no 'analogy' needed here.

Kinda nonsensically cryptic answer,

No. You just can't have the one without the other. So asking for a speration into gravity and (effective) mass is nonsensical.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2013
By giving gravity vectorable attributes, you mean it is in motion(with the attribute of direction), hence a part of a flow?
No. It just means that there is -at least- a gradient (first derivative of a scalar field with respect to space).

To elucidate this a bit further: A flow is a derivativ with respect to space AND time (the transport of something accross a surface boundary in a given time interval). It can be represented by a vector with 4 components (x,y,z, and t).

Gravity is a vector with 3 components x,y,z (There is no time component. The gravity of a given/constant mass does not change with time.)

Gravity can INDUCE a flow (in a very literal sense a stream running downhill is a gravity induced flow, because if you put an imaginary surface through the stream then there will be a material transport through that surface during a time interval - which is what is called a 'flux' in physics)
Ober
5 / 5 (2) Jan 10, 2013
I think the article is about RANDOM electron transistions, and the probabilties associated with them. That random transistions are more likely in a high gravitational field, than a low gravitional field. It is NOT about whether an electron can undergo a transistion. ie it is NOT stating that all Hydrogen in space would remain in GROUND state forever. Transistions will still occur if energy imparts the system, via any mechanism, ie photons. The Author is stating that GRAVITY can induce random transitions, and this is evident in random mass changes for hydrogen, ie energy state. Well thats my understanding of the article.
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (7) Jan 12, 2013
See the direction of a vector.


So... an abstract representation of a physical "thing" is now the determining factor in that "things" reality?

Gravity is part of natuire. There is no 'analogy' needed here.


Pardon the poor choice of word. I meant analog (meaning gradient).

...asking for a speration into gravity and (effective) mass is nonsensical.


So... according to you, there IS such a thing as a stupid question... Thus making you smarter than all of the (collective)teachers in my 58 years? Or - is it just a question that you don't know the actual answer to...:-)? Hence, you provide the absolute (distinct, yet inseperable universe/reality attributes)not to be questioned.
Your preference is "because I said so"...
Mine is "yeah, but..."
So, I guess I should bow to the superior "preference"...
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (3) Jan 13, 2013
We already know about effect analogous to shift of energy levels in gravity field - it's so-called Lamb shift, which is essentially the same effect just induced with gravity field of atom nuclei itself. It means, the more close are the electrons within atom nuclei, the more are affected with quantum fluctuations of vacuum.
Q-Star
3.4 / 5 (10) Jan 13, 2013
So... according to you, there IS such a thing as a stupid question... Thus making you smarter than all of the (collective)teachers in my 58 years? Or - is it just a question that you don't know the actual answer to...:-)? Hence, you provide the absolute (distinct, yet inseperable universe/reality attributes)not to be questioned.
Your preference is "because I said so"...
Mine is "yeah, but..."
So, I guess I should bow to the superior "preference"...


I think that you are having trouble communicating because you seem to be using terminology incorrectly. Vectors are not scalars. Vectors have direction and magnitude. The word direction does not mean flow or movement.

Gravity is a vector because there is a line between the two bodies. It is a force between two masses. It is a field which has magnitude (strength) and direction (space between the bodies.)

You can not separate mass from gravity, and ask which causes which. Gravity doesn't flow, it just IS.
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (6) Jan 15, 2013
Apologies, Q, for sounding snippy. I allowed my subconcious relativity processes to manage my conscious response process. However, it is my belief that increasing complexity is usually solved with increasing simplicity. The more you observe, the more you understand and as a result the less you have to observe. Or something like that. Funny how all that works...
Q-Star
3 / 5 (6) Jan 15, 2013
Apologies, Q, for sounding snippy. I allowed my subconcious relativity processes to manage my conscious response process. However, it is my belief that increasing complexity is usually solved with increasing simplicity. The more you observe, the more you understand and as a result the less you have to observe. Or something like that. Funny how all that works...


No apologies necessary,,, I enjoy gobbledygook as much as anyone, but if you want to play the fool, don't get your feelings hurt when you get seen and treated as a fool.

It's a science site, if your musings, ponderings and ramblings aren't somewhat informed, then you'll probably need to start yet another sock puppet or two to find someone to take you seriously.

And yes, there are stupid questions. Whoever told there were not was practicing very weak sophistry.

Oh yeah, before I forget,,,, that "big picture" thingy,,, you got that wrong also. (More weak sophistry.)
Manhar
1 / 5 (1) Jan 31, 2013
Big-bang theory may be questionable theory. Material cannot be generated from nothing. Scientists tried to find equal match in nanotechnology and may find something or may not. Basic fact on big bang theory is to create material from nothing. Recently we know that antimatter particles exist; matter and antimatter particles annihilate each other in a flash of light. Do we know that flash is produced energy? if so, there is some part missing in Einstein equation E= mc square. If energy goes through manifestation to make material, then the second part of manifestation antimatter is missing. If matter and antimatter are creation during Big bang, then direction of research would change. I am not a labeled scientist, I am an old engineer and existence of antimatter (old articles in Italy and many places about instant combustion of body leaving no residue) in universe away from matter confuses me.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (3) Jan 31, 2013
The dense aether model doesn't answer the origin of mass in the universe - it simply considers it a property of vacuum, from which the matter condenses in similar way, like the droplets at the water surface. The mass of droplets simply comes from underwater, thus removing the problems with causality during their formation. Such a model considers the infinitively large and eternal universe. After all, each concept of beginning just brings another questions about its origin - so it doesn't solve any causality anyway. It's just a salary generator in similar way, like the God served for theologians of Holy Church before few hundreds of years. People often don't realize, that inside of human society many concepts become real from the moment, when they manage to attract money into their research. It's the concentration of money - not the concept as such - what is physically real here.