Researchers set a world record for gravity measurements  devotion

Researchers set a world record for gravity measurements devotion

An experiment brings scientists a little closer to understanding how the forces of nature interact.

Joost van Egmond

Gravity, the mutual attraction between everything that has mass, has a significant and clear effect on everything around us. It bounces the soccer ball back to Earth and keeps the same Earth in orbit around the Sun.

But at the smallest level of quantum particles, gravity is much less comfortable. Here, other, much stronger natural forces dominate, but how gravity works between these particles is largely a mystery. Does it exist, and is it possible to find out if this is so?

Incredibly small power

Researchers from Leiden, Southampton and Trento believe they have taken a big step towards answering these questions. in Article in a scientific journal Advancement of science They report an experiment that can be described as a new world record for measuring gravity.

They took a two-kilogram mass on one side and a piece of matter with a mass of less than half a milligram on the other, and were able to record how strong the gravitational pull was from one to the other. As expected, that was an incredibly small force, and gravity means nothing with small masses. But the researchers are confident that they were able to measure it correctly: 0.0000000000000000003 newtons were exerted on the tiny particle.

Tim Fox explains that the half-milligram particle is the smallest ever seen in an experiment like this, and certainly not the two kilograms that generated the attraction. This Dutch physicist, now in Southampton, conducted the experiment in Leiden. It is expected that the method used is very easy to modify. Fox believes that these two kilograms can be significantly reduced within one year.

Even more complex experiments

The researchers believe their method will quickly enable them to better measure how gravity and other fundamental natural forces interact. This comes from both sides, Fox explains. “On the one hand, we measure gravity at an increasingly smaller level, but we also measure quantum properties at a larger level.”

This does not mean that the breakthrough that unites quantum mechanics and gravity is now within reach. To start thinking about this, you would have to perform more complex experiments, such as measuring the gravitational force that a violin exerts on another particle under specific conditions. Fox says something like this will happen in at least ten years.

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The focus in physics is on the smaller, while the larger questions accumulate

At the beginning of the twentieth century, physicists began to understand smaller and smaller particles. The smaller, and more substantial, the more sense the logo makes. But some physicists publicly question whether searching for smaller and smaller particles is still the right approach.

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