Validating Einstein

2 Jul 2018

In Electric Universe circles we hear a lot about Einstein being wrong about this and that - and the failure of his theories (and the weakness of gravity and all that). At .... which is saying something quite opposite. Astrophysicist Tom Collett set out to disprove Einstein, he assures us, but instead found corroboration. He set up an experiment to test one aspect of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity (first published in 1915). Way overdue to be off loaded you might think - but think again (according to Collett). Einstein's theory mathematically describes how gravity emerges from the fundamental geometry of space and time and postulates that dense objects, such as the Earth and the Sun, create valley like dips in space time that manifest as gravity - the face that binds together a galaxy's swirling stars, places planets around suns, and on Earth keeps your feet firmly on the ground.

Einstein's equations underpin a host of real world applications such as global positioning satellites that make precise navigation possible. They also elucidate several otherwise inexplicable phenomena including Mercury's odd orbit and gravitational waves - ripples in space time. In test after test the theory has remained unscathed - in spite of people like Collett who are seeking cracks. In other words, not a wholesale revision, you might say - but variations in the theory that might make a name for the person sniffing it out. Collett is a research fellow at Portsmouth University in southern England. In 2015, with a likewise minded team in tow, set out to test if the theory holds up at the galactic scale. The results are published in the journal Science (June 21st 2018) and it seems no flaw was found.

Having said that many scientists think general relativity might be incomplete as it cannot explain conditions inside a black hole or during the first moments of Big Bang. In retrospect the author of this piece in Scientific American might ponder what he has just said - black holes and Big Bang are hypothesis that themselves might not be complete. General relativity is also not in line with the new and popular notion of dark matter. We are told that dark matter goes all the way back to the 1930s (or have modern scientists used dark matter to have another look at observations made in the 1930s) when stars were observed moving around some galaxies at a much faster rate that the theory allows. In 1998 cosmologists found evidence the universe is expanding faster than expected - which also cused people to sit up and wonder about dark energy. The article goes on to describe Collett's experiment - in which he failed to bring general relativity into disrepute. He intends to have another crack - a follow-up experiment.