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Sergey Fedosin: on 10/4/12 at 5:24am UTC, wrote If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings...

Hoang Hai: on 9/19/12 at 14:23pm UTC, wrote Dear Very interesting to see your essay. Perhaps all of us are convinced...

Benjamin Dribus: on 9/18/12 at 1:52am UTC, wrote Richard, Thanks for the details. It seems like a test like this could...

Benish: on 9/17/12 at 18:57pm UTC, wrote Ben, I appreciate your positive comments especially as you have latched on...

Benjamin Dribus: on 9/17/12 at 18:16pm UTC, wrote Dear Richard, This is interesting, and I appreciate it particularly...

Peter Jackson: on 9/10/12 at 19:11pm UTC, wrote Richard Lagrangian points (of equilibrium) at centres of mass are...

Benish: on 9/4/12 at 21:38pm UTC, wrote Correction: Galileo's thought experiment to drop a cannonball into a hole...

Benish: on 9/4/12 at 20:22pm UTC, wrote Correction: electron mass on the right side of the latter equation above...


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January 19, 2021

CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: Rethinking Einstein's Rotation Analogy by Richard J Benish [refresh]
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Author Richard J Benish wrote on Sep. 3, 2012 @ 14:10 GMT
Essay Abstract

Einstein built general relativity (GR) on the foundation of special relativity (SR) with the help of an analogy involving uniformly rotating bodies. Among this analogy's most useful implications are those concerning the need for non-Euclidean geometry. Although GR is well-supported by observations, a curious fact is that almost all of them are of phenomena over the surfaces of large gravitating bodies; i.e., they support the exterior solution. Whereas the interior solution remains untested. In particular, the prediction that the rate of a clock at the center of a gravitating body is a local minimum remains untested. The Newtonian counterpart for this prediction of GR is the common oscillation prediction for a test mass dropped into a hole through a larger gravitating body. The main point in what follows is that this prediction needs to be checked by direct observation. Einstein's analogy serves as a launching pad for bringing out the significance of this experiment as well as exposing possible weaknesses in a few other assumptions, which are then also duly questioned. To facilitate looking upon these problems with fresh eyes, we invoke an imaginary civilization whose members know a lot about rotation but nothing about gravity. Their home is a large and remote rotating body whose mass is too small to make gravity important. What would these people think of Einstein's rotation analogy?

Author Bio

Richard Benish was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA. He is presently a student at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon USA.

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Anton Lorenz Vrba wrote on Sep. 3, 2012 @ 23:50 GMT
Hi Richard,

I really enjoyed reading your essay, very nicely explained from the two contrasting viewpoints of Earthians and Rotonians. 

I too challenge the accepted fundamental theories in my essay Rethinking Geometry and Experience



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Benish replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 01:51 GMT
By coincidence our essays both "Rethink" something to do with Einstein by appealing to an imaginary civilization! Had I been aware of your essay before I posted mine I would have chosen a different title, but I would not have changed the content.

I am especially eager to point out that the conflict between the Rotonian and Earthian perspectives is so dramatic as to be testable with a laboratory experiment that should be much less costly than many gravity experiments that have been proposed, are underway or that have been recently carried out.

Curiously, the experiment is one that Galileo proposed over 400 years ago.

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Benish replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 21:38 GMT
Correction: Galileo's thought experiment to drop a cannonball into a hole through the Earth appeared in his "Dialogue," which was completed in 1629--almost 400 years ago, not over 400 years ago.

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Anonymous wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 00:38 GMT
Your essay is very well written, and the idea is presented in a very creative way. Good work!

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Andreas Boe replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 08:18 GMT
Agrees with Anonymous. Very nice, though I doubt there really is a case here.

The GPS sattellites passes between the earth and the moon and their recorded motions may be seen as an experiment of a body falling through a body, though the effect may be too small to draw conclusions by. There was also some japanese space probe that surfed the borders between the gravity fields of the earth, the sun and the moon to get to the moon with minimal use of fuel. Forgot its name.

I also recommend Greg Egans book Incandescence. It is something right up your alley. Aliens living inside a rotating rock in outer space, trying to deduce natural laws from experimenting with moving stones in their experimental chamber in the center of the rock.

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Benish replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 18:53 GMT
I'll have to look up Greg Egans book.

As for trying to resolve the case by consideration of motions of probes in the exterior fields in the solar system, I think you are incorrect. As you say yourself, "the effect may be too small to draw conclusions."

Even in a controlled laboratory experiment using, for example, lead spheres, the Newtonian oscillation period is about an hour. I don't think any extrapolation of the motions of probes flying around the solar system bear on the extremely different circumstance of being totally surrounded by a dense concentric array of matter.

The question is about an extreme case. What do we find when one body is allowed to fall through the center of another? Clearly the best way to answer the question is to arrange such an extreme case, either in a laboratory or an orbiting satellite.

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 08:02 GMT
Dear Richard J Benish,

Thanks for a very interesting and well written essay. As one who is strongly focused on gravito-magnetism -- which is essentially the rotational component of gravity -- I have realized that there may yet be much we have to learn about rotation and gravity. You have given me some new ideas to think about.

I invite you to read my current essay, The Nature of the Wave Function, and hope that it also gives you some new ideas.

Good luck in the contest,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Benish replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 18:35 GMT
All efforts to resolve the quantum dilemmas that you've addressed are to be commended. It seems obvious to me that we are missing something big here as well. The trick, of course, is to devise an alternative that is not just a change in interpretation. To prevail, an alternative needs to predict physical behavior that conflicts with the predictions of the standard interpretation, and then be shown...

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Benish replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 20:22 GMT
Correction: electron mass on the right side of the latter equation above should be squared: (m_e)^2.

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Paul Reed wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 13:51 GMT

Einstein’s limitation on what constituted movement in SR is a function of that being a depiction of a theoretical circumstance where there is no gravity, and hence a force which can cause both alteration in momentum and (supposedly) alteration in dimension (in the line of travel). So SR is limited to uniform rectilinear and non-rotary motion.

His placement of clocks here, there, and everywhere was to depict time, which was deemed to alter, whereas in fact, a) it cannot do because it does not exist, b) it was dimension that was originally said to vary (which it may or may not do), but that got substituted by time.

Leaving that side, what constitutes gravity and rotation, and why they occur, is certainly something that ought to be understood.


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Peter Jackson wrote on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 19:11 GMT

Lagrangian points (of equilibrium) at centres of mass are experimentally verified, and we're even exploring the 5 in the Sun Earth Moon system, yet current theory persists in crushing all who venture there! Rather like it does all consistent theories I suppose.

Well doe, nicely written essay. I do like well presented analogies and metaphors. I hope you'll read my essay which is jammed full of them, and offers some real mechanisms to help both prove most but perhaps also falsify the odd assumption you use.

But as a past Rotatarian I do agree with Rotonians that "clocks are motion sensing devices unto themselves because of their change in frequency due to velocity." Again I offer a quantum cause and would greatly value your views, although the ontological construction does require some absorption.

Dan Benedict commended your essay to me unread, he was right. A good score coming I think. I hope you may agree mine worth the same. Last point. I agree an asymmetry as you propose, but for a 'closing velocity, NOT once the signal is 'detected'!(absorbed and re-emitted).

Best of luck n the competition.


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Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Sep. 17, 2012 @ 18:16 GMT
Dear Richard,

This is interesting, and I appreciate it particularly because it's something I wouldn't have thought of. What do you think would be the best way to test this experimentally? It seems naively like it could be done with reasonably-sized masses in the lab without too much trouble, since one knows how to account for the effect of earth's gravity. Take care,

Ben Dribus

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Benish wrote on Sep. 17, 2012 @ 18:57 GMT

I appreciate your positive comments especially as you have latched on to the most important thing: testability.

The "purest" way of doing the experiment would be in an orbiting satellite. The idea of doing so was proposed by David Levi as an entry in a NASA-sponsored Space Lab contest a few months ago:

(David makes an error about orientation of the apparatus, but otherwise his presentation is well argued.)

Ironically, similar experiments had been proposed in the 1960s and 1970s as possible ways to improve on measurements of Newton's constant, G. But the possibility of improving on Earth-based G measurements and the expense involved left those proposals on the drawing board. (Look up papers by Larry Smalley)

Which leaves us with the most practical alternative--a modified Cavendish balance in an Earth-based laboratory. This is discussed in the following paper:

When I thought I might have access to funding a few years ago I engaged briefly in a dialog over price and feasibility with the head instrument builder at TeachSpin in Buffalo, New York. They specialize in making physics apparatus for institutions. Dr. Herold told me that, prior to learning of my work, he had been thinking about doing this experiment himself. I never did get a price, but I got the distinct impression that the idea is certainly feasible. Herold agreed with my guess that a magnetic suspension system similar to the one used by Faller and Koldewyn would probably work best.

Galileo was the first one to propose essentially the same experiment almost 400 years ago. Maybe someday physicists will get around to doing it. I'd say the sooner the better. I happen to think the result will be a big surprise. But even if it isn't, there really isn't any excuse for not finding out, one way or the other.

Richard Benish

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Member Benjamin F. Dribus replied on Sep. 18, 2012 @ 01:52 GMT

Thanks for the details. It seems like a test like this could piggy-back on an existing space mission without adding too much cost or trouble. But as a mathematician, I sometimes overlook experimental difficulties. Take care,


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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Sep. 19, 2012 @ 14:23 GMT

Very interesting to see your essay.

Perhaps all of us are convinced that: the choice of yourself is right!That of course is reasonable.

So may be we should work together to let's the consider clearly defined for the basis foundations theoretical as the most challenging with intellectual of all of us.

Why we do not try to start with a real challenge is very close and are the focus of interest of the human science: it is a matter of mass and grain Higg boson of the standard model.

Knowledge and belief reasoning of you will to express an opinion on this matter:

You have think that: the Mass is the expression of the impact force to material - so no impact force, we do not feel the Higg boson - similar to the case of no weight outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Does there need to be a particle with mass for everything have volume? If so, then why the mass of everything change when moving from the Earth to the Moon? Higg boson is lighter by the Moon's gravity is weaker than of Earth?

The LHC particle accelerator used to "Smashed" until "Ejected" Higg boson, but why only when the "Smashed" can see it,and when off then not see it ?

Can be "locked" Higg particles? so when "released" if we do not force to it by any the Force, how to know that it is "out" or not?

You are should be boldly to give a definition of weight that you think is right for us to enjoy, or oppose my opinion.

Because in the process of research, the value of "failure" or "success" is the similar with science. The purpose of a correct theory be must is without any a wrong point ?

Glad to see from you comments soon,because still have too many of the same problems.

Regard !


August 23, 2012 - 11:51 GMT on this essay contest.

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 05:24 GMT
If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings in the contest are calculated in the next way. Suppose your rating is
was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have
of points. After it anyone give you
of points so you have
of points and
is the common quantity of the people which gave you ratings. At the same time you will have
of points. From here, if you want to be R2 > R1 there must be:
In other words if you want to increase rating of anyone you must give him more points
then the participant`s rating
was at the moment you rated him. From here it is seen that in the contest are special rules for ratings. And from here there are misunderstanding of some participants what is happened with their ratings. Moreover since community ratings are hided some participants do not sure how increase ratings of others and gives them maximum 10 points. But in the case the scale from 1 to 10 of points do not work, and some essays are overestimated and some essays are drop down. In my opinion it is a bad problem with this Contest rating process. I hope the FQXI community will change the rating process.

Sergey Fedosin

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