Albert Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity Passed The Toughest Test: Scientists

By Gopi Chandra Kharel on April 26, 2013 3:59 AM EDT

Einstein
The theory of Einstein which is already incompatible with quantum physics were expected by scientists to no longer hold true at some point. (Photo: Reuters)

Scientists have been trying in earnest to prove Einstein wrong ever since he proposed his theory in 1915 that explained gravity as a space-time phenomenon that is distorted by any matter within it.

But the sagacity of the legendary physicists never failed to outshine his skeptics even some 7,000 light years away where Einstein's theory endured the most intense test ever, scientists have revealed.

A paper in the journal Science reflects on a test that entailed looking at a massive star called pulsar spinning in a staggering speed of 25 times each second, a motion that is hard for a human mind to comprehend, and an associated white dwarf which is a smaller star spinning and wearing out due to the dizzying movements.

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The unusually heavy neutron star weighs twice as much as the Sun although it is only 12 miles across. If such a big mass prevails in such a small space, the star was bound to have an extremely high gravity --- the extreme gravity that would have the overwhelming power of a "black hole", which can easily gulp down even light.

Scientists thought that this cosmic laboratory was ideal to test the proclamation of general relativity which predicts that even light is deflected by gravity. Astronomers peered through a big telescope at European Southern Observatory's site in Chile, the AFP said.

Due to the resulting extreme gravitational waves created by the pulsar and white dwarf pair, the stars would orbit faster and move closer to each other. In this particular instance, Einstein's theory would suggest that the time they take to orbit around each other ought to shrink by about eight-millionths of a second per year.

The test conducted by Dr. Paulo Freire and John Antoniadis at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, took precise measurements of the two-star system. Their results perfectly matched with the predictions of Einstein based on the General Relativity Theory.

"We thought this system might be extreme enough to show a breakdown in general relativity, but instead, Einstein's predictions held up quite well," said Paulo Freire.

The theory of Einstein, which is already incompatible with quantum physics, were expected by scientists to no longer hold true at some point. But the more scientists try to prove him wrong, the more precisely right he seems to be.

Four years after the publication of Einstein's theory, he was asked how he would have felt if he was ever proved wrong. "I would have felt sorry for the Lord. The theory is correct," he had replied.

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