Right again Albert

einy

Albert Einstein predicted, in 1916, that entities with enormous mass, speeding to combine with each other through gravitational forces, would send forth a “gravitational wave”, a wave which would momentarily warp time and space. 100 years later, scientists devised instruments which finally proved him right. After decades of struggle to obtain funding, the NIS finally brought two LIGO systems into play in the U.S., and almost immediately detected a gravitational wave:

ligo

 

The wave, begun when two black holes merged a billion years ago (and a billion light years away), warped the length of the laser measuring devices by the very small (predicted) amount –  1/1000th the diameter of a proton, measured over the 4km length of the instruments. Not a negligible warp though. The tiny ripple in space/time fabric was initiated all those years ago by a release of energy fifty times greater than that of all the stars in the known universe. Einstein was puzzled, though, by what he called “spooky action”, now usually referred to as “action at a distance”. The now measured and proven ability of particles to instantaneously influence the state of other particles. And by instantaneous I mean faster than the speed of light, which in Albert’s stuffy little nicotine warped world was pretty much “top end”. I considered titling this piece “An Infinite Period of No Change?” to honor the steadfast philosophy of a fellow blogger, but decided, by a hair, that Albert should get the header.

3 responses to this post.

  1. The nomination was sufficient; I’m flattered and I willingly concede the final honour to one of my greatest heroes.

    Whose heroism, incidentally, grew even when he was wrong. We all know his achievements but these, for a time, were over-shadowed when Heisenberg and Bohr got together to talk about you-know-what. AE dropped out of things although he continued to communicate with Bohr and at some point or other he egged Bohr into a comparatively simply stated hypothesis (which I, alas, have forgotten) related to quantum mechanics. Thereafter AE only turned up at international forums when he’d discovered a new way of trying to undermine Bohr’s hypothesis.

    As I recall Bohr rebutted the first of these fairly satisfactorily in public and AE disappeared for while. When he returned his argument was much trickier and it took Bohr much time and effort to reach a rebuttal. To give Bohr credit (and as I recall) these exchanges tended to turn more on philosophical arguments rather than physics. The next time AE arrived the argument had become fiendish and had Bohr sweating cobs. Alas I’ve forgotten how this tournament ended but this wasn’t the point. AE, I think, realised he was was on a loser but was determined, in his puckish and mischievous way, that Bohr must work for his kudos; and in any case the relationship between these two giants remained friendly if slightly more guarded on Bohr’s side.

    I applaud AE’s attitude in this. Far better than sulking, I think. Forcing Bohr into a post-post-post graduate exercise. Childish? For my money I think the relativity theories required a childish outlook to simply pose the questions.

    As to the gravitational waves it’s the numbers that are breathaking – not least the one you cite: 1/1000th the diameter of a proton. Such concepts leave an ignoramus like me wondering whether there comes a point when some tinily measured aspect of brain activity is recognised as being too coarse to handle the thinking needed for such projects. That man himself cannot go that small.

    Reply

    • Wow, “tinily”…that’s one I’d not seen before. I know very little about the E v. B debates, though I’ve caught up some this evening. You have, in your final para, established yourself as one of the Ancients – pondering, if not espousing, the unfathomable.

      Reply

  2. Posted by sofieonecrow on January 20, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Wow! That might explain what happened with our Presidential election.

    Reply

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