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Throwback Thursday: When We Changed The Laws Of Gravity

“This Friday marks the 96th anniversary of one of the most important historical events in all of science. We can look back at all the time that’s passed, and find that every single prediction of Einstein’s gravity that’s ever been tested — from gravitational lensing to binary pulsar decay to time dilation in a gravitational field — has confirmed General Relativity as perhaps the most successful physical theory of all-time. It all goes back to one fateful day, nearly a century ago, and our understanding of the Universe has never been the same since.”

That time when, after 200+ years, we changed the laws of gravity. THAT’S a throwback thursday/flashback friday!

Eddingtons Italian Olive Wood Spatula, 12.5-Inch

Eddingtons Italian Olive Wood Spatula, 12.5-Inch Product Features 12.5-inch spatula made of richly-grained olive wood; preferred for long-life durability, versatility and beauty Durable to fold ingredients into heavy batter; Blunt-end spoon stirs sauce, gravy or roux and scrapes bits from pan…

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(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRcOZt2eetM)

I made an AU video for 10 and 11 xxx

yellowbessie asked:

Have you ever seen Einstein and Eddington? (The 100th anniversary of the 2nd Battle of Ypres was a few weeks ago, which made me think of it :( Also, I'm not sure how much I agree with their portrayal of Eddington, based on other things I've read, but David Tennant did a very good job regardless.)

Yes, I have seen that one. It’s actually one of my favorite films of David Tennant’s. And yes he did an very fine job of playing Arthur Eddington who was a very important scientist who got pushed under the radar when Einstein came into the picture of the scientific world. I mean here is a gif of him in one of my scenes from that movie where he was talking about the importance of science and learning to his fellow colleagues after what had happened at the battle of Ypres. 

The mind-stuff of the world is, of course, something more general than our individual conscious minds. The mind-stuff is not spread in space and time; these are part of the cyclic scheme ultimately derived out of it. It is necessary to keep reminding ourselves that all knowledge of our environment from which the world of physics is constructed, has entered in the form of messages transmitted along the nerves to the seat of consciousness. Consciousness is not sharply defined, but fades into subconsciousness; and beyond that we must postulate something indefinite but yet continuous with our mental nature. It is difficult for the matter-of-fact physicist to accept the view that the substratum of everything is of mental character. But no one can deny that mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience, and all else is remote inference.
—  Sir Arthur Eddington
Watch on catoinstitute.tumblr.com

The House Judiciary Committee is considering the third version of the USA Freedom Act in the last two years. In its current form, the bill effectively acts as if the Snowden revelations and several independent reviews of the PATRIOT Act Sec. 215 metadata program never happened.

The bill grants the government sweeping “emergency” collection authority not tied to an imminent threat of death or bodily harm, and allows the government to retain U.S. Person call detail records. It fails to address bulk collection and retention of US Person records, lacks mandatory US Person data destruction and audit compliance provisions, contains no protections for national security whistleblowers, has no bar on government-imposed “back doors”, does not bar targeting based solely on use of internet anonymizing technology, and does not address the recently revealed DEA telephony metadata program.

In a ten-and-a-half-hour-long filibuster over the NSA surveillance programs authorized under the Patriot Act yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul cited analysis by former CIA analyst and current Cato policy analyst Patrick G. Eddington.

“One thing is certain: the fight over reforming our nation’s surveillance laws is about to get much more intense, and quickly,” said Eddington.

【科學史上的今天】5/29——史上最重要的日蝕觀測

1915年,愛因斯坦發表廣義相對論,提出革命性的主張:物體的質量會扭曲周遭的時空結構;所謂重力其實就是物體沿著彎曲的時空行進的自然結果。這就像保齡球會使彈簧床面下陷,使得附近的小彈珠沿著凹陷的床面滾向保齡球,而不是彈珠受到保齡球的萬有引力吸引。

這個被玻恩譽為「人類對自然思考的登峰造極之作」並沒有馬上獲得全面性的認同。因為一方面其中的重力場方程式實在太複雜難解,另一方面則是牛頓的萬有引力理論已經足以解釋當時所知的自然現象,儘管廣義相對論對於水星近日點的反常進動提供了很好的解釋,但許多人仍對這個神秘抽象的理論半信半疑。

廣義相對論需要一個證據確鑿的實驗證明。愛因斯坦提出一個可行的方法。遙遠的恆星發出的光若通過太陽附近,會因太陽造成的時空彎曲而偏折1.7弧秒;相對地,按照牛頓將光視為粒子的輻射理論,重力造成的偏折只有一半:0.85弧秒。可以利用日全食時加以觀測比較,就能驗證對錯。

說來簡單,可是當時正在打第一次世界大戰,而下次最適合觀測的日全食將會發生於巴西海岸到赤道非洲這帶狀區域;要冒著戰火,跋山涉水遠赴天涯海角可是一件危險任務。結果熱心出任務的不是愛因斯坦的德國同胞,反而是敵對國的英國天文學家愛丁頓(Arthur S. Eddington)。

所幸在愛丁頓率隊出發前三個月,一次大戰結束了。為了保險起見,愛丁頓親率的一組到非洲西岸的普林西比小島(Principe),另一組則到巴西。結果1919年的5月29日這一天早晨竟真的下起滂沱大雨,愛丁頓焦急萬分,幸好在日食開始前,天空終於放晴,愛丁頓把握時間在五分鐘內換了十六張底片。巴西那邊也成功拍到日食,但最後的比對結果直到九月才出爐。

愛因斯坦收到電報那一天,正和研究生施耐德(Ilse Schneider)討論。她緊張的問愛因斯坦萬一比對結果顯示廣義相對論是錯的,那怎麼辦?愛因斯坦微笑答道:「那我會為親愛的上帝感到遺憾,因為我的理論是正確的。」

11月6日,英國皇家學會正式宣布觀測結果:星光的偏折角度一如廣義相對論的預測。次日《泰唔士報》以「科學革命」形容此一獲得證實的理論;第二天《紐約時報》以更誇張的語氣追蹤報導。儘管沒有多少人懂廣義相對論,愛因斯坦仍一躍為媒體寵兒,成為深受群眾喜愛的明星。

愛丁頓也是最早將愛因斯坦的論文翻譯成英文,並寫文章向英語世界推介廣義相對論的人。他的朋友問他:聽說世上只有三位科學家瞭解廣義相對論,其中一人就是他,是否如此?愛丁頓沉默不語,他的朋友大聲說道:「愛丁頓,你就別謙虛了!」愛丁頓回答:「我不是謙虛,我只是在想第三個人會是誰。」