2018-06-01 15:31:46
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- diaspora

common misconception 9 — who disproved einstein?Misconception:Einstein’s relativity theory has been proven.Answer:Einstein’s Relativity theory is actually two related theories,the Special Relativity (SR) theory of 1905 and the General Relativity (GR) theory of 1915.Broadly speaking,both examine the motion of physical bodies in relation to the role of frames of reference.More specifically,SR deals with lig

common misconception 9 — who disproved einstein?Misconception:Einstein’s relativity theory has been proven.Answer:Einstein’s Relativity theory is actually two related theories,the Special Relativity (SR) theory of 1905 and the General Relativity (GR) theory of 1915.Broadly speaking,both examine the motion of physical bodies in relation to the role of frames of reference.More specifically,SR deals with light and GR with gravitation.

Both are purely mathematical theories.The relationship of the mathematical symbols to the real world of physical bodies and their motions is a matter of interpretation,that is,of head-scratching and eye-squinting and, of course, political jostling.The extended bodies of the real world must be arbitrarily and forcibly fitted to the dimensionless points of mathematics.The approximate measurements of real movements must be pressed into the exact coordinates of equations.

Beyond the ambiguities of the relationship between mathematics and physical reality lie the ambiguities of what constitutes verification.If a prediction is fulfilled,does it verify the theory regardless of whether it also fulfills the predictions of competing theories?Or must the prediction be exclusive to one theory?

Such exclusiveness,a crucial experiment,is extremely difficult to devise.The Global Positioning System (GPS),claimed to verify Relativity,was devised to calculate positions with relativistic mathematics.The late Dr Tom Van Flandern,while he was on the US Naval Observatory team that developed and commissioned the GPS, used Newtonian mechanics and produced the same answers precisely.His equations were subsequently rejected and replaced by Einstein’s for no other reason than political expediency.“Expedient verification” seems rather soft,even flaccid,for a supposedly “hard” science.

How much adjustment is acceptable?In 1919,Arthur Eddington undertook to measure the bending of starlight around the Sun during an eclipse.Einstein’s theory predicted twice the bending that Newton’s theory did.Eddington’s measurements were at the limit of precision of his telescopes,his standard error was around 30%.His measurements ranged from half to twice Einstein’s prediction.Half supported Newton’s prediction.In what has come to be standard practice in many scientific endeavors,Eddington threw out the inconvenient data and proclaimed verification of Einstein’s prediction.

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