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Experimental Evidence for GR

  1. Jan 27, 2005 #1
    I know there have been some frame dragging effect experiments, with the GPB being performed at the moment. Which other experiments are planned/ or have been performed that may show strong evidence for the theory of GR?

    any experiments at all will be appreciated...whether they show evidence for or against the theory. Any idea's are welcome and I hope to get as broad a start as possible, thats why I have posted...so I can be more confident that I havent overlooked anything significant

    I am a 4th year undergrad and need to produce an essay on 'experimental evidence for the general theory of relativity' --some keywords to use a starting point will be greatly recieved

    many thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2005 #2


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    Hi jmike!

    The classic observational tests -
    Gravitational red shift - the Pound & Rebka experiment,
    the precession of the perihelion of Mercury,
    the deflection of star light near the Sun during a total eclipse

    The more recent tests -
    the time delay of radio/radar signals from Mecury/spacecraft at superior conjunction.
    the loss of orbital energy by gravitational wave radiation from the binary pulsar.

    The GPB experiment measuring not only 'frame dragging or the gravitomagnetic precession in a E-W direction caused by the spinning Earth dragging space-time with it, but also the geodetic precession in a N-S direction (GPB is in a polar orbit) caused by the gyros 'tilting down' the slope of the Earth's curvature.
    Observations of pulsars in strong magnetic fields are claimed to have already verified these last two but those observations are not clean in that their interpretation is theory dependent and assumptions have had to be made.

  4. Jan 27, 2005 #3


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    Clifford M. Will of Washington University has written extensively about experimental tests of general relativity, including a popular-level book "Was Einstein Right?" and a monograph "Theory and Experiment in Gravitational Physics" (Cambridge U. Press). Check your library.

    These books are now over ten years old, and there's been a lot of progress since then, but they should get you started.
  5. Jan 28, 2005 #4


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    Here is a pretty good source for starters:
    http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/RelWWW/tests.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  6. Jan 31, 2005 #5
    In some major university (I forgot, maybe stanford or Harvard), an experiment was performed. An atomic clock was put at very high altatutes, and another was kept on the ground. And a Dilation in time was observed. I don't know if this was the answer you were looking for or not.

  7. Feb 1, 2005 #6


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    He has an essay on the GPS system in the Physics Central website. One can access it at


    It's one of the clearest indication that GR has some degree of validity, or else our lives (especially those who fly commercial aviation) will be in jeopardy.

  8. Feb 1, 2005 #7
    https://www.physicsforums.com/journal.php?s=&journalid=13790&action=view [Broken]

    I also wrote a text on this with some links, in my journal.

    Just goto the "Einstein in everyday life" entry

    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  9. Feb 3, 2005 #8
    jeez, many thanks guys.... only checked back a day or 2 after posting and now this....:) excellent stuff. thanks very much
  10. Feb 3, 2005 #9
    This is experimental proof of the theory of special relativity, not general relativity.

    Also look for stuff on gravitational arcs due to lensing etc.
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