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Posted: April 28, 2009
New model of time Is precursor to a major revolution in physics
(Nanowerk News) Jay Pritzker Fellow in Theoretical Physics, Alexander F. Mayer, will present a talk at the American Physical Society (APS) Meeting in Denver, Colorado on Saturday, May 2, 2009 entitled "The Geometry of Time in General Relativity."
The talk will introduce a new and more accurate qualitative and quantitative model of relativistic time. Because time is fundamental to almost every aspect of physics, a fundamental change in the way physicists conceptualize time and model it mathematically implies important changes in almost every aspect of modern physics including astrophysics, cosmology and quantum mechanics. Because time and energy are intimately linked, this new and more accurate model of time also promises to yield new insights in nuclear physics, which may lead to a future practical breakthrough in energy production. The abstract of Mayer's APS talk can be reviewed at http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/APR09/Event/102992.
In relativity, "time dilation" refers to the phenomenon whereby two "ideal clocks" in distinct reference frames, which record local time with perfect accuracy, do not agree with one another. While Albert Einstein famously recognized and accurately modeled two temporal relativistic phenomena (symmetric time dilation produced by relative motion of reference frames and asymmetric time dilation produced by reference frames having a difference in Newtonian gravitational potential), he overlooked a third phenomenon that is implied by the principles of relativity. This is symmetric time dilation produced by transverse displacement in an accelerated reference frame (e.g., a gravitational field).
This was first appreciated by Richard Feynman circa 1965, though he was apparently unable to produce a complete theory with a testable empirical prediction. Consequently, Feynman never published his ideas on the subject, only briefly introducing them to a few students at Caltech in the lecture hall. Mayer has advanced the theory so that one may now accurately predict an observed ubiquitous relativistic phenomenon associated with gravity (transverse gravitational redshift or "TGR"), which was not previously acknowledged as such. For example, the previously unexplained center-to-limb variation (CLV) of the solar wavelength and the marked excess redshift of white dwarf stars are now modeled as TGR, which is distinct from the Einstein gravitational redshift.
Other anomalies are also explained by Mayer's amendment to Einstein's relativity theory, including the unmodeled periodic annual and diurnal variations in the telemetry of the Pioneer-10 spacecraft accompanying its lower-than-predicted radial velocity. A modulation in the telemetry of NASA's 2009-2010 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission due to the previously unknown relativistic phenomenon is precisely predicted by the new theory. Observation of the predicted LRO telemetry modulation over the spacecraft's orbit would confirm the new theoretical ideas concerning the geometric nature of time in similar fashion to the confirmation of Einstein's prediction that the Sun's gravitational field would curve the path of starlight. Thus, LRO is unexpectedly poised to become among NASA's most important historical science missions. LRO is scheduled for launch as early as June 2009.
Complementing his talk at the Denver APS conference, Mayer will also be presenting a poster at the conference entitled, "The Calculus of Relativistic Temporal Geometry," showing the calculational method used to predict the magnitude of the relativistic TGR effect.
A comprehensive discussion related to the topic of Mayer's talk is freely available for review. This open access electronic preprint of book length was published on 20 April 2009, and can be downloaded as an e-book. The book avoids the use of obscure specialized mathematical notation and jargon, thereby making the introduction of the theoretical ideas it presents accessible to an unusually broad, technically educated audience, which may include select science journalists with various physical science backgrounds.