Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Gravity research offers science fiction results

One of the 'last unknowns' for science is an understanding of gravity sufficient to put that understanding to technological use. A new development in research into something called gravitomagnetism "might point towards a new quantum theory of gravity," says the New Scientist magazine, and possibly open the door to some very exciting innovation.

Research by Austrian scientists has suggested the phenomenon of gravitomagnetism may have more importance than was previously predicted, and it not only calls into question what was previously thought about gravity. Just as a moving electrical charge creates a magnetic field, so a moving mass generates a gravitomagnetic field. According to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the effect is virtually negligible. However, Martin Tajmar, ARC Seibersdorf Research GmbH, Austria; Clovis de Matos, ESA-HQ, Paris; and colleagues have measured the effect in a laboratory, and found a higher figure than previously expected. Notes New Scientist:
It might even herald a futuristic technology that could be used to pull, push or levitate any object, regardless of its composition, electrical charge or shape.
Other scientists will soon be checking the research by trying to replicate it themselves.
The results could be out in a year or so. If they are positive, it puts the technology of science fiction on the horizon. Levitating cars, zero-g playgrounds, tractor beams to pull objects towards you, glassless windows that use repulsive fields to prevent things passing through. Let your imagination run riot: a gravitomagnetic device that works by changing the acceleration and orientation of a superconductor would be the basis for a general-purpose force field.

The suggestion that gravitomagnetism might one day form the basis of some new technology evokes a quick reaction from Everitt: "Absolutely, unquestionably no!" Then, after a pause, he adds, "But I suppose Simon Newcomb was just as certain in 1900 when he said that humans would never build a heavier-than-air flying machine."
You can read about the research in the latest issue of New Scientist (subscription needed) or you can take a peek here at this cached forum page (scroll down to see the text).

LINK: Gravity's secret - New Scientist (subscription needed)
Gravity's secret - Science a Go Go Forum (scroll down to see the text)
Towards a new test of general relativity - PhysOrg.Com
Gravitomagnetism - Wikipedia
Gravitomagnetic induction of gravitational fields - Gravity Control Idealism blog

RELATED: Science


  1. Gee I wonder what states would turn this technology towards. I wonder.

  2. New Scientist mentioned...
    [...might point towards a new quantum theory of gravity.]

    It is amazing that researchers have formulated some equivalent field equations of 'Electro-Magnetism' in 'General Relativity' which they called 'gravitomagnetism'.

    I am not sure whether the magazine editors misquoted this as "quantum theory of gravity" or is it a truely combination of Quantum Mechanics & General Relativity. The equations shown at Wikipedia for 'gravitomagnetism' are not quantized at all. All of them are continuum (continuous) field equations.

    The 2 theories are the pillars of modern Physics of which they are mostly inconsistent except in certain domains, where they have been combined to achieve some amazing predictions.

    One of this well-known predictions was proposed by British Mathematical Physicist, Professor Paul Dirac, in which he combined both theories into a branch called 'Relativisitc Quantum Mechanics'. The result of his work enabled Physicists to predict the existence of 'anti-matter' (or anti-particles). It was also been found that all elementary particles contain corresponding anti-particles. All hospitals of today have something called PET (positron emission tomography ) scanners. Positron particles are the anti-particles of electrons. They have same mass, but positron has anti-spin to the electrons and also contain positive charge, rather than negative one as in electrons.

    The other work on 'relativistic quantum mechanics', was pioneered by Professor Stephen Hawkings, where he proved (on paper by mathematical derivations only), that the collapse of black-holes under its own gravitaion pull are not that doom as relativity predicted. When he quantized 'General Relavitivy' equations, the solution he solved showed that not all matter disappeared into the black hole when they reached the event-horizon, but there is some leakage out of this black holes matter collapsed and tis radiation do escaped which are detectable. This radiation has been observed and now they called it 'Hawkings Radiation'. When 'Hawkings Radiation' is observed, it indicates indirectly that there must be a black hole around the vicinity, because black holes can't be detected directly.

    "Paul Dirac"


    "Hawking radiation"

  3. It doesn't seem to me to be a true unification of General Relativity and QM. The GR approach is to find analogs of Maxwell's equations, while this research is entirely in terms of superconduction and gravitons... that is entirely quantum mechanical. Which is where the discrepancy in strength comes from as far as I can tell. The expected strength assumes a zero-mass graviton, but there is no real reason to assume that to always hold. Of course superconduction theory isn't perfect either so it is also possible that it is something else entirely. But if gravitions do gain mass under some conditions then presumably they should show up through anomalous short-range effects in extreme astronomical conditions, like fast spinning stars or black-holes. I expect.

    But at least they have tried repeatedly to get rid of the effect and are awaiting other attempts at the same before claiming their Nobel prize. Stands in stark contrast to some other science of the day.


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