Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is space-time smooth or grainy? Testing Einstein's laws of Special Relativity

Date:
December 19, 2013
Source:
Sissa Medialab
Summary:
A new article is a systematic review of the methods devised by scientists since the 90s to test Einstein's laws of Special Relativity, up to the highest observable energies. These types of tests are important: deviations from Special Relativity could in fact indicate that space-time is not continuous but grainy.

Gravitational lens 560.
Credit: Image courtesy of Sissa Medialab

A recent paper by Stefano Liberati from SISSA is a systematic review of the methods devised by scientists since the 90s to test Einstein's laws of Special Relativity, up to the highest observable energies. These types of tests are important: deviations from Special Relativity could in fact indicate that space-time is not continuous but grainy.

Related Articles


Smooth" or grainy? Is space-time continuous or is it made up of very fine (10-35 metres on the "Planck scale") but discrete grains, if we look at it very close up? If the latter were true, scientists think, this would lead to deviations from the theory of special relativity formulated by Albert Einstein more than 100 years ago.

In some theoretical scenarios, the "non-continuity" of space-time implies violations to the invariance of the physical laws under the so-called Lorentz transformations (which establish that physical laws are the same for all inertial reference frames that are at the basis of special relativity). Since the 90s physicists have devised several methods (often based on phenomena connected to high-energy astrophysics) to test these deviations from standard physics. Stefano Liberati, coordinator of the Astroparticle Physics group of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste, recently published a systematic review to present the state of the art in this field and the constraints that can be placed on the various models that predict violations to Special Relativity.

The paper is an invited Topic Review published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity. This journal periodically asks leading world experts to "sum up" what is known in a specific field of study. The review has now been selected as one of the journal's Highlight papers for 2013.

"Physicists have been wondering about the nature of space-time for years. We've been asking ourselves whether it is continuous at all scales, as we perceive it in our daily experience, or whether at very small sizes it presents an irregular grain that we, in our direct experience, are unable to perceive," explains Liberati. "Imagine looking at a slab of marble from some distance: it will probably seem to have a uniform texture. However, on closer inspection, for example using a powerful microscope, you can see that the marble is porous and irregular."

"In a certain sense physicists have been trying to do something similar with space-time: to find something that acts as a microscope to find out whether at very small length scales there is indeed some irregularity. In my paper I presented a systematic overview of the experiments and observations that can be exploited to investigate the existence of these irregularities. Special relativity is one of the cornerstones of modern physics and as such it is very important to test its validity, insofar as current observations allow us."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sissa Medialab. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S Liberati. Tests of Lorentz invariance: a 2013 update. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 2013; 30 (13): 133001 DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/30/13/133001

Cite This Page:

Sissa Medialab. "Is space-time smooth or grainy? Testing Einstein's laws of Special Relativity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219130153.htm>.
Sissa Medialab. (2013, December 19). Is space-time smooth or grainy? Testing Einstein's laws of Special Relativity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219130153.htm
Sissa Medialab. "Is space-time smooth or grainy? Testing Einstein's laws of Special Relativity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219130153.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

AP (Mar. 2, 2015) — SpaceX launched it&apos;s 16th Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday night. The rocket was carrying two commercial communications satellites. (March 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA EDGE: SMAP Launch

NASA EDGE: SMAP Launch

NASA (Mar. 2, 2015) — Join NASA EDGE as they cover the launch of the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft live from Vandenberg Air Force Base.  Special guests include NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, SMAP Project System Engineer Shawn Goodman and Lt Col Brande Walton and Joseph Sims from the Air Force.  No word on the Co-Host&apos;s whereabouts. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Astronauts Leave Space Station for Third Spacewalk

Astronauts Leave Space Station for Third Spacewalk

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 1, 2015) — NASA Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts perform their third spacewalk in eight days outside the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spacesuit Water Leaks Not An Issue On Latest ISS Walk

Spacesuit Water Leaks Not An Issue On Latest ISS Walk

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Astronauts are ahead of schedule with hardware upgrades to the International Space Station, despite last week&apos;s spacesuit water leak scare. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins