Open Questions: Tests of Relativity and Gravity

[Home] [Up] [Glossary] [Topic Index] [Site Map]

See also: Gravitational waves

Introduction

Binary pulsars

Lorentz invariance

Gravity at very short range


Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books

Introduction



Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes


Sites with general resources

Gravity Probe B: Testing Einstein's Universe
Information on a project to test relativity with orbiting gyroscopes. Site contains some media articles about the project and many questions and answers about special and general relativity.
Gravity Probe B: The Relativity Mission
NASA-sponsored home page for the Gravity Probe B experiment. Contains news, photos, and background information on the project.
Observing Lense-Thirring Precession
An article about the phenomenon, by Draza Markovic and Frederick K. Lamb. Includes images and downloadable animations.
Review of Gravity Probe B
Report to the U. S. National Academies of Science on the review of the Gravity Probe B project. See especially the executive summary.
The Eöt-Wash Group: Laboratory Tests of Gravitational Physics
Research group "pioneering new techniques in high-precision studies of weak-field gravity. Our scientific goal is to search for experimental signatures of quantum gravity that would violate Einstein's Equivalence Principle and/or the Newtonian inverse-square law at some length scale."


Surveys, overviews, tutorials

Frame-dragging
Article from Wikipedia.
Precession in Curved Space: "The Geodetic Effect"
Brief, single-page explanation.
Perseverance Is Paying Off for a Test of Relativity in Space
February 2009 New York Times article about the curent status of analyzing data from the Gravity Probe B experiment.
In Search of Gravitomagnetism
April 2004 article at NASA's Exploring the Universe site. Explains the science behind the Gravity Probe B experiment.
Gravitational labs in the sky
Summary of March 2005 article from Physics World. "The first-ever double-pulsar system was discovered by radio astronomers two years ago and has provided the sternest test of general relativity to date."
Relativity at the centenary
January 2005 article from Physics World, by Clifford M. Will. "Gravitational physics has become a truly experimental science as tests of the special and general theories of relativity reach new levels of precision."
Pioneer anomaly put to the test
September 2004 article from Physics World, by Slava Turyshev, John Anderson, Michael Martin Nieto. "The European Space Agency is considering a unique experiment that could explain strange gravitational phenomena in the outer solar system."
Breaking Lorentz symmetry
March 2004 article from Physics World, by Robert Bluhm. "As physicists celebrate 100 years of Lorentz symmetry, some theorists and experimentalists are working hard to spoil the party."
Clear message for causality
December 2003 article from Physics World, by Aephraim M. Steinberg. "Experiment confirms that information cannot be transmitted faster than the speed of light."
No thing goes faster than light
September 2000 article from Physics World, by Aephraim M. Steinberg. "The observation of a light pulse leaving a gas-filled chamber before it had even arrived sparked a media frenzy, yet the laws of physics have remained intact."
Slingshot test for general relativity
April 2001 news article from Physics World. "Physicists are hoping to make a new test of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity by measuring the effect of the Sun's gravity on a passing spacecraft."
Making light work of gravity gradients
August 1998 news article from Physics World. "Physicists in the US have used an atom interferometer to measure the gradient of the Earth's gravity field. Such measurements could provide more accurate measurements of the gravitational constant, G, and better tests of general relativity."
The Search for Frame-Dragging
Relatively brief page that presents some mathematical details about frame dragging, by Clifford Will.
X-ray Astronomy Puts Einstein to the Test
Describes how x-ray astronomy makes tests of general relativity. Part of NASA's Imagine the Universe site.
Peering Over Einstein's Shoulders
June 2002 Scientific American In Depth article, subtitled, "Seeking still more complete descriptions of the workings of spacetime, scientists are testing the boundaries of the special theory of relativity."
The Nonnegligible Lightness of Gravity
Brief February 2000 news story from Scientific American on measurement of gravitational self-energy.


Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

The Search for Relativity Violations
Alan Kostelecky
Scientific American, September 2004
A Spin through Space-Time
Peter Weiss
Science News, November 1, 2003
A long-planned test of Einstein's theory is poised for takeoff.
Binary Neutron Stars
Tsvi Piran
Scientific American, May 1995, pp. 50-61
Neutron stars are the remains of massive stars that undergo supernova explosion. Binary neutron stars can occur when both members of a binary star pair have been supernovae, so should be very unlikely. Yet observations now suggest there may be as many as 30,000 such pairs in our galaxy. When such a binary system inevitbly collapses the result is a gamma ray burst, distinctive gravitational waves -- and a good test of the general theory of relativity.


Recommended references: Books

Clifford Will - Was Einstein Right? Putting General Relativity to the Test
Basic Books, 1986
Non-mathematical exposition that looks at a number of predictions of general relatively and how they have been tested.

Home

Copyright © 2002 by Charles Daney, All Rights Reserved