Wednesday, March 18

Einstein our next door neighbor

It's amazing how little of his theory is known by many of us and how much we like him. Einstein has lived in poverty and was not bright as a student. His clothes are normal, no suits, nothing that implies he is a superior person. He could be our next door neighbor. He spent most of his time at home studying his theories and trying to proof them to their colleagues. In order to proof the theory of relativity to skeptical physicist he decided to use this postulate: if relativity was true, then rays of starlight that passed near the Sun would be bent compared to the same rays when the Sun was elsewhere in the sky. In each case, the relativistic effects are caused by gravity from the Sun's huge mass. It only requires photos of solar eclipses to measure shifts in star positions and there was some of them so that the astrophysics could use. When they did examine previous photographs of solar eclipses, they found that the pictures were unsuited to proving or disproving Einstein's claim: the telescopes had been set to track the Sun's motion across the sky, not the stellar motions, and the slight differences between these perspectives obscured the small, predicted shifts in star positions. However, as time went by and other experiments gave equivocal results, the solar-eclipse experiment represented the best chance to test the truth of relativity. It was his British friend Sir Arthur Eddington, an renowned astrophysicist who believed in Einstein, that constructed a telescope with few resources and did try twice to photograph solar eclipse. The second time was in the spring of 1919 that Sir Eddington went on an expedition to Australia to take photographs of a solar eclipse that it was possible to confirm the correctness of general relativity theory. It change it all we are using his theory on daily basis without even knowing that without this theory many things would be different.
Photography: one of the many photos Sir Eddington took from Australian solar eclipse in 1919

2 comments:

Bradpetehoops said...

Fear of man and superstition back in a day!

Ana said...

Yep!