June 19, 1995 THE NEW FEDERALIST Page 11

Behind the News
Isaac Newton's Apples Are Found To Be Rotten
"# Carol $hite
On the le%t& Rene 'escartes( on the ri)ht& alileo alilei*two o% the e+piri,
cist %oes o% the -eplerian +ethod.
The assumption that inetia! an" ga#itationa! mass ae i"enti$a! is a%out as
$!ose to Ho!& Wit as &ou $an get in the s$ienti'i$ Esta%!ishment o' to"a&(
This is the i"ea that an app!e 'a!!ing 'om a tee )hi$h hits &ou on the nose,
is e*ui#a!ent in pun$h to the same app!e e!ease" 'om a s!ingshot an" aime"
at &ou 'a$e(
The h&pothesis un"e!&ing this suppose" !a) o' natue, "epen"s upon a$$ep+
tan$e o' that notion that the thee "imensions o' spa$e,up+an"+"o)n, si"e+
to+si"e, an" %a$-)a"s+an"+'o+)a"s .the /, &, an" 0 a/es o' 1atesian
geomet&2,ae i"enti$a!( In this )a& the o%#ious $haa$teisti$s o' ph&si$a!
spa$e3time ae $on#enient!& o#e!oo-e", an" then e+impote" %a$- into
ph&si$s as athe m&steious me$hani$a! popeties o' matte(
When Johannes 4ep!e esta%!ishe" the !a)s o' p!aneta& motion, he "i" so
)ith the intention o' e/p!aining ho) it )as that the so!a s&stem itse!' )as
$eate"( 4ep!e )as 'u!!& $ogni0ant that hea#& o%5e$ts ten"e" to %e atta$te"
to ea$h othe, an" that the stength o' that atta$tion )as popotiona! to thei
He e5e$te", ho)e#e, the Aistote!ian notion em%a$e" %& 6a!i!eo an"
Des$ates, that the motion o' hea#en!& %o"ies ha" to %e pe'e$t!& $i$u!a(
Fo him, the e!!ipti$a! o%its o' the p!anets )ee "e'inite poo' that spa$e )as
not empt& in the sense that 6a!i!eo, Des$ates, an" then Ne)ton assete",
%ut )as instea" )hat might %e $a!!e" in mo"en !anguage, a *uantum 'ie!"(
7n!i-e mo"en *uantum 'ie!" theo&, though, 4ep!e8s theo& in$!u"e" as a
$haa$teisti$ o' this ph&si$a! spa$e3time a hamoni$ ogani0ation( In
mo"en theo&, the hamonies )hi$h he 'oun" in the p!aneta& o%its ae
%ought in 'om !e't 'ie!", as it )ee, an" $a!!e" 9esonan$es(9
Assault "# British E+piricis+
4ep!e8s metho" $ame un"e atta$- 'om the :itish empii$ist s$hoo! o'
ph&si$s, %ut s$ientists su$h as 1a! 6auss an" :enha" Riemann un"estoo"
that this :itish attempt at a ta-eo#e %i" in s$ien$e, )as a 'un"amenta!
atta$- upon s$ien$e itse!'( The 'au"u!ent assetion that Ne)ton )as a geat
s$ientist, )as an" is 5ust a $u"e attempt to "e#a!ue genuine s$ien$e, a%out
as ham+'iste" as :itain8s attempt to sei0e the )o!"8s e$onomi$ assets
though the 'au" o' 'ee+ma-et e$onomi$s to"a&(
Whi!e A!%et Einstein $ame $!ose to tho)ing out the Ne)tonian36a!i!ean
paa"igm in his genea! e!ati#it& theo&, he )as un)i!!ing to e5e$t the
assetion o' the i"entit& o' ga#itationa! an" inetia! mass( A s$ientist to"a&,
:en5amin So!"ano, has in 'a$t "e#e!ope" an a!tenate !oo- at man& aspe$ts
o' 'ie!" theo&, "oing 5ust that(
So!"ano %e!ie#es that the eneg& )hi$h %in"s togethe atoms an" mo!e$u!es
.)hi$h itse!' is $onsi"ee" to ha#e a mass, a$$o"ing to Einstein8s 'amous
"i$tum, E ; m$
2 is not s&mmeti$, %ut that this $omponent o' the massiness
o' matte "emonstates an anti+Ne)tonian non+e*ui#a!en$e( Nee"!ess to sa&,
he is teate" as a paiah %& the ma5oit& o' the ph&si$s $ommunit&(
Late!&, ho)e#e, thee ha#e %een in"i$ations that the ma5oit& ma& %e 'o$e"
to "ea! seious!& )ith So!"ano8s assetion, %e$ause o' anoma!ies no) %eing
)itnesse" in su$h pe#ious gi#ens as the $onstan$& o' the suppose"
ga#itationa! $onstant( The ga#itationa! $onstant appeas in some e/pei+
ments to %e $hanging in spa$e an" o#e time( This $an %e e/p!aine" on!& %&
"umping the Ne)tonian paa"igm on$e an" 'o a!!(
John =a""o/, e"ito o' the :itish s$ien$e 5ouna! Nature, has %een 'o$e"
to ta-e note o' the go)ing num%e o' $a$-s in the "am( .See Nature <>,
Api! 1995, page >59, 9:e&on" Einstein8s Theo& o' 6a#itation?92
To put the matte in %ie', Ne)ton8s app!es ae 'oun" to ha#e %een *uite
otten( The !atest e/peiments to sho) this $ome 'om a goup e''ot
in#o!#ing 6eman, Austian, an" Amei$an s$ientists 'om uni#esities in
Inns%u$-, Austia an" =uni$h, 6eman&, an" the 7(S( Nationa! Institute o'
Stan"a"s an" Te$hno!og&, 'ome!& the Nationa! :ueau o' Stan"a"s(
Thei esu!ts ae epote" in the Api! 1@, 1995 issue o' Physical Review
Letters, pp( <A59+B<, 9E''e$ti#e+=ass+Enhan$e" De'!e$tion o' Neutons in
Noninetia! Fames,9 4( Raum et a!( To put the matte most simp!&, thei
esu!ts #io!ate Ne)ton8s 'ist !a), the !a) o' inetia, an" Ne)ton8s unstate",
though un"e!&ing, h&pothesis that inetia! mass is e*ui#a!ent to ga#itation+
a! mass, )hi$h is the pin$ip!e o' 9e*ui#a!en$e(9
As state" in a pe#ious e'een$e" pape, the 'in"ings o' these s$ientists ae
that 9the neutons ( ( ( )i!! 'a!! up)a"sC The neuton e''e$ts ae moe spe$+
ta$u!a an" moe "ie$t!& o%se#a%!e than those 'om the e''e$ti#e mass o'
e!e$tons( This $an %e ta$e" to the "i''eent est masses an" intea$tions o'
the t)o pati$!es an" to the a#ai!a%i!it& o' a %eam that $an popagate o#e
!age "istan$es in $&sta!s( Ho)e#e, the ph&si$a! oigin is the sameD An&
pati$!e, massi#e o mass+!ess, in a suita%!& peio"i$ me"ium, )i!! e/hi%it an
a%noma! inetia(9
Neutron 'i%%raction
As Louis "e :og!ie 'ist sho)e" in the 19<@s, the suppose"!& "is$ete
pati$!es .!i-e e!e$tons, neutons, an" potons2 o' )hi$h atoms ae ma"e,
$an a$t as i' the& ae pat o' a $ontinuous )a#e .$a!!e" "e :og!ie )a#es in
his hono2( An" 5ust !i-e !ight )a#es, the "e :og!ie matte )a#es $an
e/hi%it a!! t&pes o' )a#e+!i-e phenomena, su$h as "i''a$tion an" inte'e+
en$e( :ut the "e :og!ie matte )a#es pemit a moe ea"& a$$ess to shote
)a#e!engths than is the $ase )ith o"ina& !ight )a#es( This 'a$t has !e" to
the e!e$ton mi$os$ope, )hi$h is a%!e to see stu$tues on a mu$h sma!!e
Neutons, %e$ause o' thei mu$h geate mass an" !a$- o' e!e$ti$ $hage, as
note" a%o#e, $an e#en sho) "istin$tions on a mu$h 'ine s$a!e than
e!e$tons( This has pemitte" s$ientists to set up e/teme!& sensiti#e
inte'een$e e/peiments uti!i0ing neuton %eams passing though pe'e$t
$&sta!s( Ene o' the ma5o esu!ts 'om these e/peiments has %een the
appaent 'ai!ue o' Ne)ton8s La) o' 7ni#esa! 6a#itation(

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful