Thursday, May 05, 2011
Gravity Probe B
Finally, after only 45 years from conception to publication of results, Gravity Probe B has announced (dramatic pause) that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is consistent with their data. I had mentioned GPB ("The Project that Ate Stanford") once before. It was a fascinating, complex, multidisciplinary project that, thanks to its experimental design and extraordinarily long duration, had great impact on a large number of physics, materials science, and engineering careers. Still, I think they were in a bit of a no-win scenario, particularly once it became clear that there were problems with interpreting the data. Either they support general relativity, or people just wouldn't trust the results, given how much other evidence there is out there that GR is right, at least in the relatively weak field limit.
Posted by Douglas Natelson at 9:18 PM