Einstein’s Special Theory Of Relativity Was Initially Met With A Universal Eye-Roll

Everyone has heard of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Just imagine the universal explosion of praise that happened when he published this momentous work of science! Then stop imagining. Whatever you’re thinking, it probably went nothing like that.


Why People Didn’t Believe Einstein

When Einstein published his paper on special relativity in 1905, the reception wasn’t exactly warm. His paper talks about “ether,” a theoretical substance that was then accepted as the stuff space is made of, mostly because its existence helped the equations work out. As JSTOR Daily reports, “Einstein argued that space and time were bound up together (something he would elaborate on in his theory of general relativity of 1915, adding gravity to the mix of space/time), a complicated idea that contradicted the long-held belief in something called ether. […] Einstein’s theory noted there was no experimental confirmation for the substance. There was no proof it existed, other than that the scientific establishment had accepted the concept.”

Change is hard. For years after Einstein put his contradiction of ether out into the world, Germany remained the only place it was really taken seriously. In Britain, the idea fell on deaf ears. (Britain was, after all, where the idea of ether originated.) In France, Einstein’s work wasn’t really even considered until after he visited the country in 1910. A few understood it in the U.S., but generally considered it impractical and absurd. What made Germany different? According to scholar Stanley Goldberg, “Many German physicists opposed Einstein’s theory, but it is only in Germany that its opponents understood it […] It was the seriousness of the German response, in my view, which ultimately led to the acceptance of relativity, for it insured that the theory would be examined, criticized, and elaborated upon.”

What Does His Theory Actually Say?

 Besides denying the existence of ether, Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity helped modern science take a grand leap in its understanding of the universe. Space.com does a wonderful job of summing up both theories: “In 1905, Albert Einstein determined that the laws of physics are the same for all non-accelerating observers, and that the speed of light in a vacuum was independent of the motion of all observers. This was the theory of special relativity. It introduced a new framework for all of physics and proposed new concepts of space and time. Einstein then spent 10 years trying to include acceleration in the theory and published his theory of general relativity in 1915. In it, he determined that massive objects cause a distortion in space-time, which is felt as gravity.” Even more impressive, the theories Einstein worked out on paper have since been confirmed with experimental evidence. Regardless of how scientists considered them at the time, Einstein’s theories about space and time have proven to be the most accurate we have so far.

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Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos On The Theory Of Relativity

Theory of General Relativity

This cute animation does an excellent job of explaining the history and meaning of general relativity.

The Atom Diagram Isn’t What An Atom Looks Like

The diagram of an atom is among the most familiar symbols of science there is. Unfortunately, it’s not actually what atoms look like, and we’ve known that for nearly a century.


How The Diagram Came To Be

 The history of the atomic model is long—we could go back as far as the ancient Greeks, really—but for our purposes, we can start around 1900. It was about then that Sir Joseph John Thomson discovered the electron, which is the negatively charged part of an atom. He proposed that these electrons were captured in uniform spheres of positively charged matter. This was dubbed the “plum-pudding model,” since the electrons in the positive substance is a bit like plums in English pudding. New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford discovered that if you shoot positive particles at atoms (in the form of gold foil), they don’t all bounce off the way they should if there was a large mass of positive “pudding.” Instead, some bounce off, but most pass through, suggesting that electrons are spaced around a small mass of positive substance—a nucleus, if you will. He rejiggered the model in 1911 to have electrons orbiting a nucleus the way that planets orbit the sun, which was dubbed the “planetary model,” for obvious reasons. The planetary model has become the most famous symbol for the atom—even though it was refined only two years later by Danish physicist Niels Bohr.

The problem with the planetary model is that electrons would lose energy by orbiting, causing them to collapse into the nucleus. Bohr’s model solved this: instead of orbiting willy nilly, electrons orbited only at very specific energy levels. Electrons could jump from level to level if they absorbed or released energy, but they never drifted between levels. The Bohr model is probably the most popular in science textbooks (you’d recognize it as a nucleus surrounded by ever larger circles of electrons) but—you guessed it—it’s mostly wrong, too.

What’s Really Going On?

 Steven Dutch of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay clearly sums up the next step in the atomic model: “By the 1920’s, physicists had discovered that matter also has wave-like properties and that it just doesn’t work at the atomic level to regard particles as tiny points with precise locations and energies. Matter is inherently ‘fuzzy.’ They gave up thinking of electrons as tiny planets altogether.” Electrons don’t really follow paths at all. Physicists discovered that they’re actually quantum particles that exist in many different places at once. They still occupy individual energy levels, but instead of a path, each electron’s many-places-at-once location could be thought of as a cloud. That’s why it’s known as the electron cloud model.

That’s not to say Bohr was wrong. It’s a good way to simplify a very complicated concept, and it actually works surprisingly well for simple atoms like hydrogen. But the electron cloud model illustrates the latest knowledge about the structure of an atom. The planetary model is pretty, but reality it ain’t.

Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos About The Atom

This Is Not What an Atom Looks Like

SciShow uses the planetary model in its intro, but also explains why it’s wrong.

According To Quantum Mechanics, Reality Might Not Exist Without An Observer

If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? The obvious answer is yes—a tree falling makes a sound whether or not we hear it—but certain experts in quantum mechanics argue that without an observer, all possible realities exist. That means that the tree both falls and doesn’t fall, makes a sound and is silent, and all other possibilities therein. This was the crux of the debate between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein. Learn more about it in the video below.

Quantum Entanglement And The Bohr-Einstein Debate

Does reality exist when we’re not watching?

The Double Slit Experiment

Learn about one of the most famous experiments in quantum physics.

Watch the video. URL:

An Illustrated Lesson In Quantum Entanglement

Delve into this heavy topic with some light animation.

Watch the video. URL:

Physics Breakthrough: Quantum Cat State Finally Captured on Camera


A breakthrough experiment captured in a movie one of quantum physics’ most bizarre demonstrations of the nature of subatomic particles: Schrödinger’s cat. This may help us understand molecular behavior better, and how they affect living systems.


new study by a team of scientists from Stanford University has captured the “cat state” in action (or inaction), in a highly detailed stop-motion movie showing the inner workings of simple iodine molecules. The study has been accepted for publication by Physical Review Letters.

The phenomena captures lasts for just 30 millionths of a billionth of a second. The Stanford scientists used optical green X-ray laser light to zap a two-atom iodine molecule. This sudden burst of energy split the molecule into two, one was in an excited state and the other was not, but both existing simultaneously — the “cat state.” Although true for any molecule when zapped with lasers, this is the first time this phenomenon was clearly seen and recorded.

The “cat state” molecules were exposed to a second burst of X-ray light, which caused the excited and non-excited version of the molecule to scatter and then recombine. The X-ray image created looked like hologram of concentric rings.

Watch the vdeo. URL:


Refining the images and compiling snapshots of the iodine molecules at different states, in various points in time, the scientists were able to make a movie that captured all the possible behaviors of an iodine molecule when exposed to X-rays.

Phil Bucksbaum of Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and co-author of the study explains: “We see it start to vibrate, with the two atoms veering toward and away from each other like they were joined by a spring. At the same time, we see the bond between the atoms break, and the atoms fly off into the void. Simultaneously, we see them still connected, but handing out for awhile at some distance from each other before moving back in.” And it all took just a trillionth of a second.

So, with Schrödinger’s cat now outside the box, the potential to better understand molecular activity or quantum effects in living systems improves. Further knowledge of these effects could lead to learning more about how our sense of smell works, if quantum behavior is a major part of photosynthesis, as well as what role it plays in birds’ migration.

Einstein Gets Proved Right Yet Again with Relativity test.

Time dilation is the notion that time is dependent upon your relative speed and gravity’s pull. It’s a theory that’s been tested time and time again; first with highly accurate caesium atomic clocks, then with even more accurate strontium atomic clocks, and each time Einstein still comes up correct every time.

Just recently a group of researchers from the Paris Observatory set up various strontium atomic clocks around Europe to see if their different speeds as the Earth spun affected their relative times the same in which Einstein predicted in his theory of special relativity. General relativity is often used by physicists to predict the behavior of large objects such as galaxies and stars. It’s also used in quantum mechanics to predict how particles will interact with one another. So, just to re-iterate and separate the two – special relativity relates to gravity and space while special relativity relates to gravity and space.

There’s a relativity rule that exists called the Lorentz invariance which basically says that all physical laws will be the same. This is regardless of if you’re standing still, sitting down, moving, or floating in space. The problem is light can only go one speed in a vacuum, so two people moving at different speeds would need to agree on one. It may only be a subtle difference, in time delay depending on the speed you’re moving, but it’s still there.

A recent experiment used four optical lattice clocks based on the ticking of thousands of strontium atoms which switch energy levels around 430 trillion times a second. These clocks are three times more accurate than caesium atom clocks. While two of them were located in the Paris Observatory, another was in Braunschweig, Germany, and the fourth was in Teddington, UK. Because of their positions globally, the three cities move at different speeds as the Earth spins which should mean that time flows differently for each too.

The team was able to detect which clocks were ticking at a different speed to the others by detecting any variations in their frequencies. Once they had these measurements the researchers were able to conclude that the Lorentz variation was still intact, proving Einstein right, once again.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/05L5F4GwOqM


Atomic Spins Evade Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

New measurements revise the limits of quantum fuzziness.

Many seemingly unrelated scientific techniques, from NMR spectroscopy to medical MRI and timekeeping using atomic clocks, rely on measuring atomic spin – the way an atom’s nucleus and electrons rotate around each other. The limit on how accurate these measurements can be is set by the inherent fuzziness of quantum mechanics. However, physicists in Spain have demonstrated that this limit is much less severe than previously believed, measuring two crucial quantities simultaneously with unprecedented precision.

Central to the limits of quantum mechanics is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which states that it is not possible to know a particle’s position and momentum with absolute accuracy, and the more precisely you measure one quantity, the less you know about the other. This is because to measure its position you have to disturb its momentum by hitting it with another particle and observing how the momentum of this second particle changes. A similar principle applies to measuring a particle’s spin angular momentum, which involves observing how the polarisation of incident light is changed by the interaction with the particle – every measurement disturbs the atom’s spin slightly. To infer the spin precession rate, you need to measure the spin angle, as well as its overall amplitude, repeatedly. However, every measurement disturbs the spin slightly, creating a minimum possible uncertainty.

The alternative approach suggested by Morgan Mitchell’s group at the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, could circumvent this problem. The spin angle, they say, is in fact two angles: the azimuthal angle (like longitude on the Earth’s surface) and the polar angle (like latitude). To measure the precession rate, you need only the azimuthal angle. Therefore, by loading as much uncertainty as possible into the polar angle, you can measure the two quantities you need – the azimuthal angle and amplitude of the spin – and therefore measure the spin precession rate much more accurately than previously thought possible. ‘There are experiments that people are doing now that people expect to be limited by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle which in fact are not,’ says Mitchell.

Actually achieving this in practice, however, proved extremely difficult. The team cooled down a cloud of atoms to a few microkelvin, applied a magnetic field to produce spin motion and illuminated the cloud with a laser to measure the orientation of the atomic spins. ‘Not all the technologies we used for the experiment existed when we started,’ says Giorgio Colangelo, another member of the research team. ‘We had to design and develop a particular detector that was fast enough and with very low noise. We also had to improve a lot the way we were preparing the atoms and find a way to efficiently use all the dynamic range we had in the detector.’ The researchers hope that atomic timekeeping and nitrogen-vacancy magnetometry, which uses the precession of nitrogen defects in diamonds to measure magnetic fields, may benefit from the techniques unveiled here in the next few years. ‘We really hope that, in the long term, magnetic resonance techniques such as NMR and MRI may benefit, but right now they are limited by some other effects,’ says Colangelo.

Eugene Polzik of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark is impressed: ‘It sets a new and clever way of measuring certain magnetic field disturbances using an ensemble of quantum spins,’ he says. ‘It would be easy for me to look at this and say “Oh, yes, right: it doesn’t contradict quantum mechanics,” but to figure out how to achieve this, to understand how relevant it is and under what circumstances it is relevant – this is an excellent and elegant development.’


G Colangelo et al, Nature, 2017, DOI: 10.1038/nature21434


Australian Scientists Prove Time Travel Is Possible.

There are some physicists who believe that time travel can be done.

At the University of Queensland, Australia a team of scientists have examined how time-traveling photons react; proving that, at the quantum level, the grandfather paradox-which makes time travel impossible-could be fixed. In the study, photons (single particles of light) to play out quantum particles traveling back from time. Through behavioral study, scientists have unveiled much stranger aspects of modern physics. 

“The properties of quantum particles are ‘uncertain to start with, so this gives them enough wiggle room to avoid inconsistent time travel situations. Our study provides insights into where and how nature might behave differently from what our theories predict,” says co-author Professor Timothy Ralph.

The Daily Mail further states: In the simulation, the researchers examined the behavior of a photon traveling through time and interacting with its older self. In their experiment they made use of the closely related, fictitious, case where the photon travels through normal space-time and interacts with another photon that is stuck in a time-travelling loop through a wormhole, known as a closed timelike curve (CTC).

Simulating the behavior of this second photon, they were able to study the behavior of the first – and the results show that consistent evolutions can be achieved when preparing the second photon in just the right way.

Physicists believe that due to Albert Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity, time travel is indeed a possibility. Special Relativity means that time and space are the same aspect, known as the space-time continuum, and time can either speed up or slow down, depending on your speed, relative to something other.

General Relativity states that it would be entirely possible to go back in time through a space-time path. In 2012, physicists Serge Haroche and David Wineland shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for the demonstration of “quantum weirdness” and how it can’t exist at the subatomic micro-world level, and how it can appear itself in the macro-world.

“The question of time travel features at the interface between two of our most successful yet incompatible physical theories – Einstein’s general relativity and quantum mechanics. Einstein’s theory describes the world at the very large scale of stars and galaxies, while quantum mechanics is an excellent description of the world at the very small scale of atoms and molecules,” says Martin Ringbauer, a PhD student at University of Queensland’s School of Mathematics and Physics, and a lead author of the paper.

In a documentary from the BBC, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking finds that it isn’t possible to go back into time. There isn’t a lot to look forward to at all.

Now, there are some developments in quantum theories that could deliver understanding of how to take on time travel paradoxes.


NASA Studying How to Travel Faster than Light After Finding Trappist-1 ·

NASA recently reported finding a treasure trove of planets, all able to support life in a nearby solar system, called Trappist-1, according to a Harvard paper on the subject. Now, as if NASA hasn’t been using interstellar space travel for decades now, this arm of the military industrial system says it is beginning to study faster-than-light space travel.


Just over two years ago, NASA reported that a team may have unintentionally accelerated particles to faster-than-light speeds while using the EmDrive resonance chamber. This alone would result in faster than light travel by creating a warp bubble, something we’ve already seen depicted in episodes of Star Trek.

Then there are private companies which are said to be working on similar faster-than-light speed technologies.

Orbital ATK is working with NASA to create solar panels that can power up spaceship through its ion drives with collected sunlight, and Aerojet Rocketdyne is developing an ion thruster system, the Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial, or “NEXT-C” that would allow spaceships to travel in space three times faster than current interplanetary propulsion systems.

Meanwhile mainstream news outlets keep pumping us with the “information” that nothing can ever go faster than the speed of light, but in September of 2011, physicist Antonio Ereditato shocked the world by announcing that small particles called neutrinos had travelled faster than light, destroying Einstein’s theories of relativity.  This was supposedly discovered by compiling data from over 160 scientists working on the OPERA project.

 Of course, we have whistleblowers like Corey Goode, and William Tompkins who have been telling us that these technologies and many more have existed far longer than NASA is letting on.

Tompkins, a former employee of Douglas Aircraft has named dozens of unconventional propulsion programs that are listed within highly classified documents.

When Ben Rich, former director of Lockheed Skunkworks told us, “We already have the meansto travel among the stars but these technologies are locked up in Black Projects…and it would take an act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity. Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do,” he wasn’t kidding, but apparently NASA still thinks we lemmings will believe that they are just now stumbling on ways to travel to Trappist-1 faster than the speed of light.


This strange light particle behaviour challenges our understanding of quantum theory.

It’s even spookier than we predicted.

 Scientists investigating how light particles (or photons) experience entanglement on the quantum scale have discovered something entirely unexpected, and it challenges long-held assumptions about the initial moments of what Einstein referred to as “spooky action at a distance”.

When the team created entangled pairs of photons, these particles didn’t originate in the same place and break away as predicted – they emerged from entirely different points in space, which means quantum theory might have to account for a whole lot more randomness than we thought.

 “Until now, it has been assumed that such paired photons come from the same location,” says one of the researchers, David Andrews from the University of East Anglia in the UK.

“Now, the identification of a new delocalised mechanism shows that each photon pair can be emitted from spatially separated points, introducing a new positional uncertainty of a fundamental quantum origin.”

The team figured this out by performing a very simple entanglement experiment called spontaneous parametric down-conversion (SPDC), which involves firing photon beams through a crystal such as barium borate, to generate entangled pairs of light particles.

As Spooky Action at a Distance author, George Musser, explains:

“If you set up the crystal properly, the amplification is so powerful that it turns the noise into a proper light beam. A single incoming beam (typically blue or ultraviolet) can thus conjure up two beams (typically red). This process occurs particle by particle: each blue photon splits into two red ones.”

Here’s a demonstration of the process: URL:https://youtu.be/FB1VWXe-fY4

 When the single photons split into two – and this usually only occurs in around one in a billion photons – the pair experience quantum entanglement, a phenomenon where two particles interact in such a way that they become deeply linked, and essentially ‘share’ an existence.

This means that what happens to one particle will directly and instantly affect what happens to the other – even if its partner is many light-years away.

 It was assumed that when the single photons are split into entangled pairs, they emerge from the same point in the crystal, and share properties such as energy, momentum, and polarisation at speeds of at least 10,000 times the speed of light.

But what Andrews and his team found was that these split pairs could actually appear in entirely different parts of the crystal.

“The paired photons can emerge with separations in their origin of hundredths of a micron – despite being entangled,” he told Michael Franco at New Atlas.

“[I]t is as if they were not even born close together in terms of atomic dimensions.”

The question now is, how do we know where those different positions will be?

The researchers suspect that the positions are influenced by individual variations in the photons, and the next step will be to independently confirm this behaviour, and establish a method to predict where the photons could crop up.

There are a lot of questions now up in the air, but one thing’s for sure – photons have a whole lot more mystery to them than we gave them credit for.

As Andrews says in a press statement: “Everything has a certain quantum ‘fuzziness’ to it, and photons are not the hard little bullets of light that are popularly imagined.”


It’s Finally Settled: Absolute Zero Is Impossible

Just how cold can it get? The answer may be more important than you think: scientists study absolute zero to figure out all the wacky stuff that happens to molecules when the chilly temperatures slow them way down. But up until recently, absolute zero has had a shadow of controversy surrounding it, one that two researchers decided to take head-on. Grab your scarves and coat for this one.

What All the Fuss is About

 Absolute zero is the lowest temperature that is theoretically possible—0 Kelvin, or about -273.15 degrees Celsius. Entropy, on the other hand, is the measure of disorder in a system. In 1906, as described by New Scientist, the German chemist Walther Nernst put forward the principle that, as a system’s temperature approaches absolute zero, the system’s entropy goes to zero. In 1912, he added the unattainability principle, stating that absolute zero is actually impossible to reach. Taken together, the principles form the third law of thermodynamics. However, the third law of thermodynamics has not been considered a law by some—it has remained controversial for decades. But a new study from researchers at the University College London may just settle the matter once and for all.

The problem is this: at 0 Kelvin, a system has minimal motion—but not a lack of motion altogether. That’s because of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which states that we can’t know both the exact position and momentum of a particle at the same time. There may still be small fluctuations of movement. So, how could a system’s entropy go down to zero?

The short answer: it can’t.

Solving the Riddle

 A new study from researchers Jonathan Oppenheim and Lluís Masanes sheds light on this riddle, by showing that reaching 0 Kelvin is physically impossible. Think of it this way: as described by Science Alert, the cooling of a system is essentially the “shoveling” out of heat from that system into the surrounding environment. But cooling has its limits, determined by how many steps it takes to shovel the heat out, and the size of the surrounding environment. You can only reach absolute zero, then, if you have both infinite steps and an infinite surrounding environment.

Dr. Lluís Masanes told IFL Science that their study shows “it is impossible to cool a system to absolute zero in a finite time” and that they “established a relation between time and the lowest possible temperature. It’s the speed of cooling.”

The researchers used quantum mechanics to arrive at their conclusion, viewing the cooling process as a computation, according to IFL Science. A longstanding debate about the third law of thermodynamics has finally been put to bed.

 What the Coldest Temperatures in the Universe Can Tell Us
 Do Electrons Move At Absolute Zero?

Fahrenheit, Celsius and Kelvin Explained In Ten Seconds

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