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ESA Researchers Create Gravity in the Lab
Team demonstrates high gravity field generated by a spinning superconductor
Gregory Daigle (gdaigle)     Print Article 
Published 2006-03-25 17:58 (KST)   

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The discovery funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) is sure to create controversy in physics circles and could "form the basis for a new technological domain" according to its discoverers.

Scientists Martin Tajmar, ARC Seibersdorf Research GmbH, Austria; Clovis de Matos, ESA-HQ, Paris; and colleagues rotated a gyroscopic ring of superconducting material at 6,500 RPM (about 13 times faster than the top speed of an audio CD) to study discrepancies between actual measures of mass in superconductors and predictions of quantum theory. They report to have measured an unpredictably strong anomaly in their study of Cooper-pairs (the current carriers in superconductors). This anomaly could be explained by the appearance of a gravitomagnetic field in the spinning superconductor.

Just as a moving electrical charge creates a magnetic field, the rotating superconductor generates a gravitomagnetic field as predicted by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity (GR). Currently, the Gravity Probe B satellite experiment conducted by Stanford University is measuring the "frame-dragging effect" (or gravitomagnetism) predicted by GR. However, GR predicts that the gravitomagnetic effect is virtually negligible, less than one part in a trillion.

The effects measured by Tajmar and de Matos were a million trillion trillion times (30 orders of magnitude) stronger than predicted by GR. "We ran more than 250 experiments, improved the facility over 3 years and discussed the validity of the results for 8 months before making this announcement. Now we are confident about the measurement," says Tajmar.

The experimenters view this experiment as the gravitational analogue of Faraday's electromagnetic induction experiment in 1831. A relationship between gravitational force and "co-gravitational" force was also predicted in the late 1800s by Oliver Heaviside, who viewed the relationship in a way similar to that in which the magnetic field relates to the electric field. This leads to a gravitational relationship in which the forces depend not only on the masses and separations of the interacting bodies but also on their velocities and accelerations.

If this relationship between the fast acceleration of superconducting masses and the generation of gravity effects is confirmed it could lend credence to "fringe physics" experimental results reported by researchers Eugene Podkletnov and Ning Li beginning in the early 1990s. Both experimenters were reported to have produced large gravitational effects through the high-speed gyroscopic rotation of superconductors. Their claims lacked credibility but have been difficult to dismiss entirely without verification of the interrelationship between electromagnetism and gravity.

Though the authors of this experiment produced no gravitational "shielding effect" as claimed by Podkletnov, they do believe that further experimentation could "produce even larger gravitational fields in laboratories".

ESA's experiment, if validated, would provide the first such peer-reviewed confirmation of a relationship between electromagnetic and gravitational forces, heretofore considered separate forces of nature.
Original news release from ESA can be found here.

Gregory Daigle is a consultant in social technologies, e-learning and a former professor of industrial design.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Gregory Daigle

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