Sunday, September 28, 2008

Einstein Off By 10<sup>20</sup>?

Towards a new test of general relativity? "Scientists funded by the European Space Agency believe they may have measured the gravitational equivalent of a magnetic field for the first time in a laboratory. Under certain special conditions the effect is much larger than expected from general relativity and could help physicists to make a significant step towards the long-sought-after quantum theory of gravity."

"Although just 100 millionths of the acceleration due to the Earth’s gravitational field, the measured field is a surprising one hundred million trillion times larger than Einstein’s General Relativity predicts. Initially, the researchers were reluctant to believe their own results. We ran more than 250 experiments, improved the facility over 3 years and discussed the validity of the results for 8 months before making this announcement."

I'm not sure if "one hundred million trillion" is 1020 or the European (British?) version which I think is 1023.

1 comment:

DKB said...

Actually I think the euro number would be even larger... This Brit says that the "old" Anglo-Euro billion was a million million (10^12), rather than a "thousand million" (10^6) that the American billion is. He further says a euro trillion is 10^18, so a euro "hundred million trillion" would be 10^26, I think.