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Einstein's Theory To Go Beta Testing

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the relawhatnow dept.

Science 326

pinqkandi writes: "This article over at CNN looks into the relativity of Einstein's theory of relativity (pun intended) as equipment becomes more and more precise. Soon atomic clocks will be placed in the International Space Station to analyze the accuracy of Einstein's theories. One of the lead researchers says that if Einstein's theory is not right, it will only need minor adjustments to account for changes in space-time, due to its deadly accurate precision."

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326 comments

it's truly relative (0, Insightful)

robburt (139183) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643943)

Time does not exist, our perception of time is the only thing that exists.

Re:it's truly relative (1)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643953)

time is a dimension like any other easily identifiable dimension. we exist in length, width, height, and across time. not to mention the fact that the perception of existance is, to most people, just has good as actual existance, but what makes time any less valid than length, width and height?

Re:it's truly relative (1)

robburt (139183) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643990)

Don't confuse the fact that we can measure the "age" of something with the existence of time. Think of some of the largest mammals on earth who live hundreds of years (whales, and elephants etc), a flies lifespan is a passing moment in "time" to them b/c the perception is different.

If you can think of an oak tree which lives several hundred years, the analogy can be made as well. I do not deny the fact that we can measure "time" or the passage of such, just that in a cosmic sense, time does not exist.

Re:it's truly relative (1)

kpetruse (572247) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644156)

No, you're still talking about perception. Time exists in a cosmic sense. It has nothing to do with the age of things that experience time; it exists as a dimension in exactly the way that the three spatial dimensions exist.

Saying what you've said is exactly the same as saying "we can measure the "size" of something, but size does not exist in a cosmic sense, it's merely our perception of how big things are".

Sad techie/pedant joke (1)

chrisos (186835) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644030)

As a born pedant, when asked the question "What's the time?"

My typical response is:

"An abstract system that allows one to distinguish sequences of events"

I then laugh till I puke :D

Re:Sad techie/pedant joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3644043)

Would be the correct response to "what's time?", but is an invalid response to "what's the time?".

Re:Sad techie/pedant joke (4, Funny)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644164)

Qouth from the Young Ones:

-Oh, my goodness, is that the time? (Rik points at Mike's wristwatch)
-No, time is an abstract concept. This is a wristwatch.

But to be truly pedantic, you will have to distinguish between "What's the time?", "What's time?" and "Is it Miller time yet?". ;-)

Re:Sad techie/pedant joke (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644206)

They had that joke at least twenty years ago...from Airplane...

Kid: Can I ask you a question?
Pilot: What is it?
Kid: It's an interrogative statement, used to test knowledge, but that's not important right now, mister.

McCroskey: We keep losing their radio.
Burgess Meredith: McCroskey, give it to me straight, what's it look like?
McCroskey: A radio? Well, about so big, green, with numbers, lots of knobs.

Re:it's truly relative (1)

delta407 (518868) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644136)

So, if I were to stop perceiving time, does it cease to exist? Things happen while you're sleeping, you know.

narcisstic sense of time (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644306)

So, if I were to stop perceiving time, does it cease to exist? Things happen while you're sleeping, you know.

Either this is a totally narcistic sense of time, or else this requies certain metaconditions, such as an immortal soul (or similar) with the ability to be unconscious. There could be the ability to connect/disconnect from various time streams, etc. But this goes into discussions that many folks find uncomfortable. And most such subject definitions of time do not try to integrate these other factors.

[shrug]

Re:narcisstic sense of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3644389)

You mean solipsistic, not narcissistic. Although of course you did write "narcisstic", but I assume you meant narcissistic. Or rather, i assume you meant to TYPE narcissistic, even though as I wrote above, I assume you MEANT solipsistic.
I sure do assume a lot, don't I? :)

Re:it's truly relative (1)

SpaceJunkie (579366) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644385)

Whoaahh.. Okay we are now moving from the realm of science, physics and technology into existentialism. Which at some fundamental low-level must co-exist. I wonder how low-level we can get? Maybe one day we will be able to see the source (code) of the universe... Though maybe it isnt the stepwised, serialized kind of thing we imagine- but at the end of the day some super-massively, multidimensional parallel process occuring in multiple dimensions sychronously in a truly chaotic access pattern. The fact we experience the universe at all prooves that it exists- however flimsy the existence- it exists. To put it another way - does a "virtual" world really exist? Yes and No- no because its existence may seem "meaningless" in the "real" world, yes because whatever it is- *it is*. Superstrings- the universe performing high-level multithreading? Time is as real as the chair your sat on- wether you beleive in its existance or if it is an illusion. An illusion is still *something*. "I think therefore I am". If the universe is just an individuals thoughts- it is still something. After all- in what medium are these thoughts... Its all relative.

Re:it's truly relative (1)

GAlain (559435) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644406)

Maybe one day we will be able to see the source (code) of the universe...
Yeah! Hey, God, show us your code so we will be able to debug it!
8-)

Re:it's truly relative (1)

GAlain (559435) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644392)

Some said that if things exists, that's only because we're here to look at them...

Re:it's truly relative (2)

Ooblek (544753) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644436)

Of course it ceases to exist. I mean, when trees fall in the woods and no one is around, you know they don't make any noise, right?

Re:it's truly relative (0)

CubicDDD (556754) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644148)

Time exists, for that definition of time (perception) is connected with the timeline of thermodynamics (increasing entropy).

Shouldn't your assertion be a question? (1, Troll)

Bnonn (553709) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644386)

Time doesn't exist, depending on how you look at the situation. I don't know that your interpretation has been proven, though it has some merit. Isn't time technically a fourth dimension, t ? The question should really be, is "time" a by-product of movement in space, or is movement in space possible because time already exists?

Re:it's truly relative (3, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644442)

Of course, you can only accept the parent of this post by tossing all logic out the window.

Time most assuredly does exist. I am perceiving time, therefore I am perceiving something. Whatever this something is, I define as "time". Viola.

You may think you can wiggle out of this by claiming that what I'm perceiving is an illusion, but no such luck; I define your claimed illusion as "time" (without conceding your illusion point.) It doesn't matter how you try to do this, I can always go one meta-level higher. You can't win without throwing out logic, at which point I declare moral victory anyhow.

The parent is really a hidden instance of "overgeneralization".
  • "I know of this thing 'x'", where "x" is "time" today (no pun intended).
  • "This thing 'x' does not exist."
  • "Therefore, no thing thought of under the word 'x' exists."
I hope I don't need to spell out why that's fallacious logic? (Hint: Just because you don't understand something doesn't affect the universe. Hint 2: You can't go "Newtonian gravity is incorrect. Therefore, there is no such thing as gravity." It's the same form, honest.)

Of course the universe cannot be totally explained and there's a lot of mystery out there. Indeed, that's exactly why making up fake mystery is a waste of time! There's plenty to exercise your sense of wonder on or whatever other reason your subconcious is rebelling at this message for; why make up fake stuff like this? You need all the help you can get; throwing out logic pretty much leaves you adrift, with no clue. You wanna be that way, fine, no skin off my nose, but don't suffer under the illusion that you're any more 'enlightened' then me.

!!!GO USA!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3643945)

Are we going to have the best soccer teams now also?

I almost feel sorry for the rest of the world, we are kicking their ass in every political, social, education, and economic category..

and now we are schooling them in their own sports? BAHAHAH!

Whats left, world rugby and cricket champions?

GO USA!

http://people.freebsd.org/~jkh/lw2000/daemonbabe.j (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3643950)

http://people.freebsd.org/~jkh/lw2000/daemonbabe.j pg

SHIT JEZUS CHRIST (-1, Flamebait)

jedie (546466) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643962)

THAT IS ONE UGLY BITCH!

Re:SHIT JEZUS CHRIST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3644355)

I think you just lost your chance with her.

She reads Slashdot

See http://slashdot.org/~Ceren/

Re:SHIT JEZUS CHRIST (-1, Offtopic)

jedie (546466) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644453)

Oh no, now she'll never love me ? :'(

someone, hold me, I've just lost the love of my life *sob*

btw, read her messages, the bulk of them are about herself at the conferences, who'd actually _want_ a girl like that? Ugly and with her head up her ass :)

how old is she ? (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643998)

I think she's not 18...
but she could be cuter with non-flat soles:
sport shoes don't valour her shapes...

wheee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3643951)

fp. NO, really.

Cuntbubble.

Relativity vs. Quantum Mechanics (0, Offtopic)

Nomad7674 (453223) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643961)

Well, it has been said for years that Relativity and Quantum Mechanics can not both be true without some deeper explanation (i.e. Supersymmetry or String theory). Perhaps this experiment will be the tie-breaker to tell us which is MORE right.

There are 2 theories of relativity (4, Informative)

qurob (543434) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643967)


If you don't understand either one, take a look
here [bartleby.com] :

Re:There are 2 theories of relativity (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3644177)

For us slackers, here's a quicker read [uiuc.edu] .

What's wrong with the older proofs? (1, Redundant)

wheany (460585) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643973)

Hasn't this been proved already? What's wrong with those older proofs? Like the atomic clock in the airplane and GPS satellites?

Re:What's wrong with the older proofs? (3, Informative)

mrgrey (319015) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644060)

It hasn't been proved, it just hasn't been disproved. That's why it's a theory.

Re:What's wrong with the older proofs? (5, Informative)

DarkState (116388) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644105)

The tests that Kostelecky is proposing are somewhat different than the earlier tests. In the previous tests researchers looked for changes in the frequency difference between two clocks when they were moving at different velocities or when they were at different heights in the earth's gravitational field. These tests looked at standard relativity theory (either special or general) and checked that the predictions it made were correct. In the new tests, one looks for changes in the frequency of a clock as it points in different directions (which would be akin to an ether, picking out a prefered direction in space) or a similar effect as the velocity of the clock changes.
These tests have been performed on the ground recently by measuring the frequency of a clock as its direction relative to the stars changes due to the rotation of the earth. (For example, see Phillips, et al., Physical Review D 63, 111101 (2001) or Physical Review Letters 85, 5038 (2000)- showing off is always good.) In space, one could use the faster rotation of the space station as the atomic clocks in space which may substantially outperform ground based clocks.

Or other existing equipment (3, Insightful)

GMontag (42283) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644202)

What is wrong with using existing equipment, like that hive of atomic clocks in the GPS system? They already transmit their time to just anybody that wants to receive it and all of the adjustments for relativity, etc., are known and can be removed for "raw" time measurement.

I guess the hammer and feather experiment just gets more expensive in proportion to the expansion of the beurocracy.

Re:What's wrong with the older proofs? (4, Interesting)

danro (544913) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644225)

Hasn't this been proved already? What's wrong with those older proofs?

You can't prove anything in physics, you can try to disprove something and fail, and thus you may have reason to believe that the theory was correct.
But there is always a posibility that your theory may be disproved later. (Which doesn't mean the theory is rendered useless. Newton's mechanics for example, stood for a very long time, until they were replaced by the theories of relativity. But they are still used, because in most "normal" conditions they work good enought, and the math is easier to work with.)

deadly? (3, Funny)

tps12 (105590) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643989)

Deadly precision? What has space-time done to you lately?

Re:deadly? (1)

eMilkshake (131623) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644403)

Uhm, haven't you heard of people dying of "old age"? And don't forget the old collary to "time heals all wounds" that is "time wounds all heals."

In fact, I'm not sure there's anything as lethal or punitive as time. I'm writing my congressman to start an investigation into time today!

Re:deadly? (1)

Sunracer (103819) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644408)

I don't recall anyone surviving after his/her time has gone. Time does kill with deadly precision... :]

SLASHCODE STILL BROKEN (-1)

RoboTroll (560160) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643991)

What the fuck is the matter with you idiots? Instead of posting lame stories about beta testers, FIX YOUR BROKEN OPEN SORES CODE. Oh yeah, and GET REAL PROGRAMMERS.

Old methods reapplied (4, Funny)

brejc8 (223089) | more than 11 years ago | (#3643997)

I remember in the seventies they got two atomic clocks and stuck one on a plane and after two years of the plane flying around aimlessly they found a minute difference
in time.

The joke of it all is that after a year some journalist asked why they didn't just stick it on a regular commercial jet but they didn't think of it at the time.

Re:Old methods reapplied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3644161)

maybe they were scared of some bearded faggot blowing their experiment out of the sky.

Too soon to go beta (2, Funny)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644007)



While we might think that we are equipped to carry out the beta test on Einstein's theory, methinks we may not yet be ready.

Practically, what we understand from the Theory of Relativity is what we BELIEVE we understand, and that will influence what type of outcome we are searching for.

Plus, the equipments that we think are ready may not be ready.

Take the Atomic Clocks for instant ... so far, the way we test the atomic clock is under normal condition, and we have NO IDEA how the atomic clock will behave under the relativity condition - that is, the very basic function of the atomic clock, the vibration of the atoms itself, may CHANGE if time itself is change.

After all, the "ticks" of the atomic clock, no matter which type of "atoms" we base it on, still depends on the variable TIME - as "ticks per second".

Re:Too soon to go beta (2)

danro (544913) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644258)

I don't think you understand this theory at all, do you?
You should read it.
Einstein was a pretty good writer, and his examples are still used today.
Go to your library!

Re:Too soon to go beta (1)

sffubs (561863) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644393)

Yep, Relativity is a very good book, with many excellent examples.

But note one of the axioms of Special Relativity is that the laws of Physics are the same in all inertial (non-accelerating) frames of reference. Hence by testing the theory of Relativity we are testing this very axiom.

-s

Kostelecky's page... (5, Informative)

doru (541245) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644010)

is here [indiana.edu] , with a little more information on Lorentz and CPT violation.

Police and Thieves (-1)

The Lyrics Guy (539223) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644020)

Junior Murvin - Police and Thieves
Covered by The Clash

Police and thieves in the street, oh yeah
Fighting the nation with their guns and ammunition
Police and thieves in the street, oh yeah
Scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition

From Genesis to Revelations
The next generation will be hear me
All the crimes comitted day by day
No one tried to stop it in any way
All the peace makers turn war oficers
Hear what I say

this post is for peace (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644048)

no more war!

Re:this post is for peace (-1, Troll)

FUCKING FAG (583496) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644064)

MAKE GAY LOVE, NOT WAR!!

COCK IS DELICIOUS!!!

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Zero gravity? (2, Interesting)

tdemark (512406) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644049)

Maybe it's just the way the guy was quoted in the article, but if they need to test in a "zero gravity" environment, how would the ISS be applicable?

I'd consider it a "weightless" environment, but not "zero gravity".

- Tony

Re:Zero gravity? (1)

fisman (66079) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644084)

And for the slow ones out there, how does a satelite (such as the ISS) stay in orbit?

Might it just have something to do with gravity?

Re:Zero gravity? (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644101)

More like speed, inertia, and gravity. Gravity is constanting trying to pull the ISS to the ground, the speed and inertia of the ISS keep it in orbit.

There is also such a thing as a Lagrange Point [montana.edu] .

Kierthos

Re:Zero gravity? (1, Redundant)

shd99004 (317968) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644135)

You will find no place in the universe where there is zero gravity.

Re:Zero gravity? (1)

HiQ (159108) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644192)

I think you're wrong. In all the companies in the world you will see the stupid PHB's constantly defying gravity by going up all the time. Must be some strange inverse gravity thing going on in PHB land.

Re:Zero gravity? (5, Informative)

delta407 (518868) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644168)

Technically, you're never going to get zero gravity. And yes, you're right, ISS isn't anywhere near that -- it's in orbit, and uses gravity to stay that way. ISS and the like are weightless (or near weightless) because they are effectually in a free fall; this state is termed "microgravity".

Re:Zero gravity? (1)

tdemark (512406) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644409)

g = G * me / d^2

G = Univ Grav constant
me = mass of the earth
d = distance from earth center to object

G = 6.67 * 10^-11 Nm^2/kg^2
me = 5.98 * 10^24 kg
d = 6768 km (ave distance from center of earth to ISS)

g = 8.71 m/s^2

So, on ISS, the force of gravity is 89% that of here on the ground. Doesn't sound very "micro" to me! =)

- Tony

Re:Zero gravity? (3, Funny)

BreakWindows (442819) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644307)

Maybe it's just the way the guy was quoted in the article, but if they need to test in a "zero gravity" environment, how would the ISS be applicable?

I'd consider it a "weightless" environment, but not "zero gravity".


True, but I'm sure they've taken that into account. The problem is, when the results come back a certain way, the same persons responsible for this article will write another about how "Einstein was wrong" because they don't understand what was actually decided here.

It's like testing the lifespan of Goldfish in water. But I didn't have any water, so I used Tequila. By the way, it's 26 seconds, but after about 15 the fish started using emacs. But the example remains the same...you can "prove" or "disprove" anything depending on who's reading it. It's all relative.

GPS Satelites know this ! (5, Informative)

fisman (66079) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644056)

AFAIK the current GPS satelite system makek adjustments for relativity in the signals it is sending around and they have been adjusting for this for years. See the articles at Metaresearch [metaresearch.org] and lsu.edu [lsu.edu] for more info.

Re:GPS Satelites know this ! (2, Insightful)

Merlin42 (148225) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644080)

GPS sats make adjustments for relativity on, well, relatively large scales. What these researchers are interested in is the small scale(both temporal and spatial I would think) fluctuations. Basically I get the impression that they are attacking the gap b/w quantum theory (small) and relativity(large) from above, so to speak.

Re:GPS Satelites know this ! (2)

wunderhorn1 (114559) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644259)

From the site you gave:
"The accuracy of this comparison [ground-based clocks to satellite clocks] is limited mainly because atomic clocks change frequencies by small, semi-random amounts (of order 1 ns/day) at unpredictable times for reasons that are not fully understood."

Sounds pretty unscientific to me. Here's one researcher's papers on the subject, which conclude that the GPS systems aren't following relativity. http://www.stcloudstate.edu/~ruwang/ [stcloudstate.edu]

Re:GPS Satelites know this ! (2, Interesting)

fisman (66079) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644299)

And also from one of the links:


For GPS satellites, GR predicts that the atomic clocks at GPS orbital altitudes will tick faster by about 45,900 ns/day because they are in a weaker gravitational field than atomic clocks on Earth's surface. Special Relativity (SR) predicts that atomic clocks moving at GPS orbital speeds will tick slower by about 7,200 ns/day than stationary ground clocks. Rather than have clocks with such large rate differences, the satellite clocks are reset in rate before launch to compensate for these predicted effects. In practice, simply changing the international definition of the number of atomic transitions that constitute a one-second interval accomplishes this goal. Therefore, we observe the clocks running at their offset rates before launch. Then we observe the clocks running after launch and compare their rates with the predictions of relativity, both GR and SR combined. If the predictions are right, we should see the clocks run again at nearly the same rates as ground clocks, despite using an offset definition for the length of one second.

We note that this post-launch rate comparison is independent of frame or observer considerations. Since the ground tracks repeat day after day, the distance from satellite to ground remains essentially unchanged. Yet, any rate difference between satellite and ground clocks continues to build a larger and larger time reading difference as the days go by. Therefore, no confusion can arise due to the satellite clock being located some distance away from the ground clock when we compare their time readings. One only needs to wait long enough and the time difference due to a rate discrepancy will eventually exceed any imaginable error source or ambiguity in such comparisons.


This in the other hand sound pretty scientific and conclusive to me ...

Re:GPS Satelites know this ! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3644327)

That was a hypothetical situation. They weren't saying they'd actually done it, just claiming that they could.

In other news today... (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644058)

Soon accurate telescopes will be installed to make extremely careful measurements of Mercury's orbit to analyze the accuracy of Newton's theories. One of the lead researchers says that if Newton's theory is not right, it will only need minor adjustments, due to its deadly accurate precision.

"Beta testing"? (1, Interesting)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644069)

Even as a joke this makes no sense. Relativity was alpha tested in the 1913 (IIRC) eclipse and has been tested very very thoroughly since then. This is just another fine-grained test.

Re:"Beta testing"? (3, Funny)

jackal! (88105) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644100)

This is just another fine-grained test.

Agreed. This whole thing is a lot more like benchmarking. Those geeks want to find a way to squeeze another nanosecond out of reality.

Don't you know... (0)

imta11 (129979) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644085)

The universe IS a beta test for relativity.
Einstein's special relativity was just an advanced features appendix to be added to the manual.

Hasn't this been done before? (2, Insightful)

ltning (143862) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644093)

Like, they put one of those into an airplane and flew it half around the globe or something.. That might have been another aspect of the theory though.

But one thing is for sure: They won't 'prove' Einstein in any way by doing this - but they might *prove* him wrong. Only negative proof can be done by example.

"deadly accurate precision." (2, Funny)

skrowl (100307) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644096)

Can a clock really be DEADLY accurate? A rifle, a smart bomb, maybe even a rolling pin weilded by an angry wife when her husband comes in late.... THESE can be deadly accurate... I don't think a clock can be.

are you nuts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3644117)

I tripped over my roomates clock one time (we slept on the floor) and almost broke my neck. Also I have a friend who's psycho girlfriend of the time threw stuff at him and one was a clock that put a nice gash in the wall (that would have been his head had the aim not been so crappy).

My friend... clocks can be VERY dangerous indeed. (and never mix clock usage with high BAC, that is just asking for trouble) Chronology and fermentology never make good bed buddies.

Re:"deadly accurate precision." (2)

warpSpeed (67927) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644205)

The deadlyness of the clock would depend on weather the aim is good and the momentum of the clock as it hits you is high enough. A small clock from a night stand moving at 40 to 50 MPH would pack quite a whollop, esp from an angry spouce at 3 am. You would never have time to duck in the dark as you try to creep in quietly.

Re:"deadly accurate precision." (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644244)

From what I know, Time is the most deadly invention man ever conceived!! ;o)

What is the CNN article saying?? (2, Interesting)

BongoBonga (317728) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644106)


The CNN article is not very clear as to what it says. This comes from the fact that There are two different theorys of relativity.

1 The special theory
2 the General theory.

The special theory concerns what happens to the laws of physics as a person is traveling at a constant velocity, whereas the general theory is concerned with bodys that are accelerating ( In general relativity acceleration and gravity are equivalent).

So since the ISS is in orbit it experences an outwards accerleration( the same as one experences as one goes round a corner fast in a car.) In space there is gravity on the ISS but it is very little. This means that the ISS will experence a slight change in the ticking rate that is recorded. But this is explained by the general theory of relativity and not the special theory.

Re:What is the CNN article saying?? (0)

jhampson (580482) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644213)

Would an old person live longer if they rock in a rocking chair? Would time slow down (for them) a fraction every time that they rocked, and more so the faster that they rock?

Backwards? (1)

delphin42 (556929) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644127)

"If variations in the ticking rate were discovered, Kostelecky says, it would be a "striking signal" that the laws of nature may be based on fundamental theories other than Special Relativity -- or perhaps in addition to it."

I thought this was precisely what special relativity does predict, that a moving observer experiences less passage of time than a stationary one, increasingly so as the speed becomes a significant fraction of the speed of light. If the ticking rate does not vary, then special relativity would be invalidated.

Why do this again? (1)

wunderhorn1 (114559) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644151)

We've already got a bunch of atomic clocks circling the earth -- in the form of GPS satellites. The funny thing is, they don't need to compensate for relativity, when they clearly should.

Probably this won't be so much beta-testing relativity as it is verifying the anti-relativists.

Re:Why do this again? (2)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644190)

We've already got a bunch of atomic clocks circling the earth -- in the form of GPS satellites. The funny thing is, they don't need to compensate for relativity, when they clearly should.

I'm not going to take the time to find a link, but I believe they are compensated. Of course, the change isn't very much as they're simply not moving all that fast.

Re:Why do this again? (1)

wunderhorn1 (114559) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644310)

There are many conflicting claims, however those who claim the satellites aren't compensated seem to have better references for this than those who claim they are, who seem to just toss off the example and move on to other "proofs," like the bending of light around stars.

This just in . . . (2, Redundant)

micromoog (206608) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644157)

One of the lead researchers says that if Einstein's theory is not right, it will only need minor adjustments to account for changes in space-time, due to its deadly accurate precision.

This just in, from a 1903 Einstein press release:

One of Einstein's lead researchers says that if Newton's theory is not right, it will only need minor adjustments to account for changes in space and possibly time, due to our upcoming theory's deadly accurate precision.

hmmm... (1)

sugrshack (519761) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644185)

I just hope they don't release the beta before they full test it...

NOW! Brand new on the Market: MS Relativitiy (future patches coming soon!)

gah, it turns out it was only slightly related... like a third cousin.

(smack me, i know it's an obvious joke)

special relativity (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3644200)

3in5+3in h0aX0r5 Y0u!

Cat got your tongue? (something important seems to be missing from your comment ... like the body or the subject!)

Where does relativity fall short? (2)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644201)

This is an honest question. Most theories I know of have things they cannot account for, but I have not heard where relativity fails.

It will be proved wrong! (0, Troll)

Tomaz (187546) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644203)

That's my bet.

Be cause I can't see, what happens with a circular train around the Earth. How does it shrink, when it's velocity approaches c?

And this inconsistency must pop out on some other places as well. Sooner or later.

- Thomas

Gravity Probe B - A Most Stringent Test (3, Informative)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644233)

Atomic clocks on ISS are a trivial test of relativity compared to Gravity Probe B [stanford.edu] , hopefully to be launched soon after DECADES of development. A one-pager "GPB for Dummies" is here [nasa.gov] . GPB tests not for alterations in time but another phenomenon known as "frame dragging" which has never been directly measured. There's been lots of criticism about GPB as being too ambitious, so there's been lots of independent reviews [nas.edu] .

More interesting (1)

YanceyAI (192279) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644288)

These tests might be more interesting on a craft traveling deeper into space. Maybe the next Mars mission? You might see greater inconsistancies.

GPS measures relativity all the time (4, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644338)

An article [aip.org] (membership requires) in May Physics Today details the extensive corrections GPS must make for both special relativity (velocity corrections) and general relativity (gravity corrections). This has tested Einstein every day of the past 20 years, and he has held up.

apples and pares (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644339)

So there planing to space-time using radioactive decay by increasing the potentinal of the decaying isotopes. hmmm.... prohaps they should try other 'artifacts'
All that will prove is that radioactive decay is relitive to the kenetic potential.

Wasn't this already tested? (2)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644350)

I heard GPS sattelites use atomic clocks to keep in synch with earth. They use the Theory of Relativity to adjust their times so that they stay in synch with earth because they move at a different speeds and in a different field of gravity.

no pun int....at all (1)

Jacer (574383) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644359)

A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words and they need a hefty bit of setting up, like a large story resulting in the punch line "I don't know for whom the Tell's bowl"

The General Theory is Wrong (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3644418)

As I recall, it was proven wrong by the detection and acknowledged existence of Tachyon particles travelling at over the speed of light when detected... these were natural particles mind you, and their speed never changed even when penetrating the earth.

If you really want to test the theory, build an ion engined probe with small nuclear battery and atomic clock, transmitters, etc... and enough fule to acclerate to relativistic speeds. Your measure ments over the course of a decade would give you all you need to know (unless there are anomalies in space tha the probe passes through that would adversly effect the results).

The theory has to be wrong because we have observed multiple instances of the violation of conservation of energy and the hard and fast rules around C speeds. I think there is some glaring holes in the General theory, and so do a great many theorists and physisists.

Scientist Practical Jokes (5, Funny)

DeadBugs (546475) | more than 11 years ago | (#3644434)

I wonder if Scientists ever play practical jokes on each other and sneak into the lab to make the Atomic Clock blink 12:00
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