Why Einstein will always be right




Why Einstein will always be right

Astrophysics joke that one of the advantages of being an astrophysicist – this every week to receive letters from those who “proved that Einstein was wrong.” But these letters do not contain any mathematical equations and use phrases like “it is evident that …”, or filled with complex equations with dozens of scientific terms that are used in an unconventional way. In particular, this applies to the post-Soviet space. All emails quickly swept aside, and not just because “eats taxpayers’ money” astrophysics too “zombified” existing theory, but because none of them knows how the theory can be replaced.

For example, in the late 18th century there was a theory of heat, known as caloric. The basic idea of ​​the caloric theory was that the inside material is liquid. It acts as a self-repellent, ie will try to spread as much as possible and evenly. We can not observe this fluid, but the more calories will have a material, the higher the temperature.

From this theory came out a few predictions that really work. Since you can not create or destroy calories of heat energy is conserved. If you put a cold object near the hot caloric hot object will act on the cold until it warms up. When air expands, calories spread worse, the temperature drops. When air is compressed, and compressed in the calorie amount and the temperature rising.

Now we know that there is no “thermal fluid.” Heat is the property of motion (kinetic energy) of atoms or molecules in the material. Thus, physics replaced caloric model kinetic theory. Now we can say that the caloric model is completely incorrect.

However, it is not. At least, it is not particularly successful in his fallibility since inception.

The basic assumption of the “thermal fluid” does not correspond to reality, but the model made predictions that are correct. In fact, the caloric model works just as well as in the late 18th century. We do not use it because we have more good models that work better. Kinetic theory makes all the same predictions as the caloric and more. Kinetic theory even explains how thermal energy of the material can be present as a liquid.

This is a key aspect of scientific theories. If you want to replace the new reliable scientific theory, the new theory should be able to do more than the old one. When replacing an old theory you realize its limits and limitations and know where to go.

Sometimes even after the ousting of the old theory, we continue to use it. A simple example – Newton’s law of universal gravitation. When Newton proposed his theory of gravitation in the 17th century, he described gravity as an attractive force between all masses. This allowed to calculate the motion of planets, Neptune was discovered, the basic relation between the mass of the star and its temperature and so on. Newtonian gravity was and remains a sound scientific theory.

In the early 20th century, Einstein proposed another model, known as the general theory of relativity. The main premise of this theory is that gravity is associated with the curvature of space and time. Despite the fact that Einstein’s gravity model is radically different from Newtonian mathematics shows that Newton’s equations are approximate solutions of Einstein. Everything predicted Newton, Einstein predicted. Einstein, however, also gave us the ability to properly simulate black holes, the Big Bang, the precession of Mercury’s orbit, time dilation, and more, which was confirmed experimentally.

So Einstein “cooler” Newton. But Einstein’s theory is more difficult to work with than Newtonian, so often we just use Newton’s equations. For example, to calculate the motion of satellites or exoplanets. If we do not need the accuracy of Einstein’s theory, we go to Newton to get the answer, which is “quite good.” We can prove that Newton was wrong, but his theory is still useful and accurate as always.

Unfortunately, many budding Einsteins do not understand.

Let me start with the fact that Einstein’s gravity will never be disproved theory. She refuted the experimental data, which show that the predictions of general relativity does not work. Einstein’s theory does not replace Newtonian until we obtain experimental data that will agree to disagree with Einstein and Newton in the views. So if you do not have experimental evidence that clearly contradict the general theory of relativity, attempts to “disprove Einstein” will remain behind.

Another way to debunk Einstein – is to develop a theory, which apparently show that Einstein’s theory compared to approximate it, and all past experimental general relativity combined with this theory. Ideally, in the new theory will be to make new predictions that it will be possible to check within reasonable limits. If you can do this and present ideas clearly, you will be heard. String theory and entropic gravity – examples of models that have attempted to do this.

But even if someone succeeds in creating a theory that surpass Einstein (and surely someone will do it), Einstein’s theory will still work as before. Einstein never makes a mistake, we simply extend the limits of his theory.
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Tags: Albert Einstein , General Relativity , Physics .


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