Einstein’s Gravity Theory Stays Rock Solid!

Ever since Einstein’s Gravity theory came into existence, scientists from all over the world subjected it to all forms of tests and scrutiny. For more than 100 years, the theory stays rock-solid, firm, and unchallenged.

Numerous attempts to disprove, correct, or alter the theory is going on all in vain. All these attempts prove the strength of Einstein and his century-old theory.

But why do we need to test the theory so much? Why do we need to scrutinize it so often? What is the motive behind all these attempts? Well, for a theory to be legit, it needs to be tested against many other possibilities and all other circumstances.

Withstanding all these tests only proves how strong the theory is. Now, a recent test on Einstein’s Gravity Theory did just that. Let’s find out.

Einstein’s Gravity Theory

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

For understanding what happens in the test, we first need to know what Einstein’s Gravity Theory suggests. Einstein’s general theory of relativity says suggests that Gravity is a distortion of space-time. It is the effect of matter on space-time fabric. To put it into a common perspective, consider space-time as a stretched out piece of cloth.

When we place a metal ball in the centre of this cloth, we will see distortion on the cloth. It bulges inwards due to the weight of the metal ball. Now, we take another lighter ball and roll it into the centre of the cloth. When the smaller ball gets near the heavier one, we see that the path of the ball alters. It alters in an elliptical pattern much like the planets revolving around the Sun. This is the effect of Gravity.

Demonstration of the effect of Gravity on the Space-Time Fabric

Gravity is simply the curvature of space-time by the presence of matter. This seems to be a simple and pretty solid way to explain it. So, why all the tests? Can’t we just accept this and apply it to everything we do? Not quite.

What we are dealing with here is a concept of physics called Classical Mechanics or Relativistic Physics. Classical Mechanics deals with the physics of large celestial objects such as planets, stars, and possibly black holes. So much as straight forwards as it is, it creates some problems in the small world. 

Quantum Mechanics and Gravity

Image Courtesy: Gettyimages
Image Courtesy: Gettyimages

Quantum Mechanics is a field of physics that deals with the physics of much smaller objects mostly subatomic particles. These particles are so small that classical mechanics simply cannot explain what happens in their realm. Our understanding of physics simply goes haywire in the quantum world. This is why Quantum Mechanics exists.

Some of the most remarkable discoveries in Physics come from this area. But, it is not perfect. Quantum mechanics cannot explain the effect of Gravity. It cannot explain why some planets attract and some others repel. It cannot explain why the Universe is expanding. When we apply Gravity to the quantum world, it simply becomes nonsense. 

If that is the case, why use it in the quantum world at all? We need both these areas of physics together to understand our universe in depth. Both theories must come together to result in the ultimate Theory of Everything.

What is this Theory of Everything? Read “The Search to Find the Theory of Everything” for an insight into what it is. If you already know what it means, lets read about a recent test which once again confirms Einstein’s theory and makes it potentially invincible!

100 years Old, But 500 times Stronger!

Visualization of the new gauge developed to test the predictions of modified gravity theories against the measurement of the size of the M87 shadow. Credit: D. Psaltis, UArizona; EHT Collaboration
Visualization of the new gauge developed to test the predictions of modified gravity theories against the measurement of the size of the M87 shadow. Credit: D. Psaltis, UArizona; EHT Collaboration

In 2019, researchers at the Event Horizon Telescope array released a photo which is arguably one of the most important milestones in scientific history. It was the first-ever image of a Black Hole. It was the first time that there was actual proof of Black Holes.

The team at the EHT used these images to test the theory of relativity. They tested the shadow of the black hole to see whether it is consistent with the predictions of General Relativity. And the results were quite remarkable for a 100-year-old theory.

The results once again prove that Einstein’s Gravity stays rock solid. The shadow was consistent with the predictions of relativity. The scientists who were expecting the results to be different were baffled at this discovery. 

The main aim was to determine how different it will be, but instead, they found that the room for modification just got 500 times tighter. This proves the genius of Einstein. Astrophysicist Dimitrios Psaltis of the University of Arizona says that,

“Together with gravitational-wave observations, this marks the beginning of a new era in black hole astrophysics.”

The results were published in the Physical Review Letters.

Future Exploration

Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before he invented the light bulb. But he considered them as a 1000 ways that won’t work. The recent tests from the EHT show us the same pattern. It is not a failed attempt at disproving relativity. It shows us that the theory is 500 times stronger than before. From now on, researchers will search for 500 other ways to find a way to reach the ultimate goal of understanding the Universe.

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