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Notes: Chapter 14

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  • Notes: Chapter 14

    Notes: Chapter 14
    1. A. Einstein, "Vierteljahrschrift fur gerichtliche Medizin and offentliches Sanitatswesen" 44 37 (1912). D. Brill and J. Cohen, Phys. Rev. vol. 143, no. 4, 1011 (1966); H. Pfister and K. Braun, Class. Quantum Grav. 2, 909 (1985). Return to Text

    2. In the four decades since the initial proposal of Schiff and Pugh, other tests of frame dragging have been undertaken. These experiments (carried out by, among others, Bruno Bertotti, Ignazio Ciufolini, and Peter Bender; and I. I. Shapiro, R. D. Reasenberg, J. F. Chandler, and R. W. Babcock) have studied the motion of the moon as well as satellites orbiting the earth, and found some evidence for frame dragging effects. One major advantage of Gravity Probe B is that it is the first fully contained experiment, one that is under complete control of the experimenters, and so should give the most precise and most direct evidence for frame dragging. Return to Text

    3. Although they are effective at giving a feel for Einstein's discovery, another limitation of the standard images of warped space is that they don't illustrate the warping of time. This is important because general relativity shows that for an ordinary object like the sun, as opposed to something extreme like a black hole, the warping of time (the closer you are to the sun, the slower your clocks will run) is far more pronounced than the warping of space. It's subtler to depict the warping of time graphically and it's harder to convey how warped time contributes to curved spatial trajectories such as the earth's elliptical orbit around the sun, and that's why Figure 3.10 (and just about every attempt to visualize general relativity I've ever seen) focuses solely on warped space. But it's good to bear in mind that in many common astrophysical environments, it's the warping of time that is dominant. Return to Text

    4. In 1974, Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor discovered a binary pulsar system — two pulsars (rapidly spinning neutron stars) orbiting one another. Because the pulsars move very quickly and are very close together, Einstein's general relativity predicts that they will emit copious amounts of gravitational radiation. Although it is quite a challenge to detect this radiation directly, general relativity shows that the radiation should reveal itself indirectly through other means: the energy emitted via the radiation should cause the orbital period of the two pulsars to gradually decrease. The pulsars have been observed continuously since their discovery, and indeed, their orbital period has decreased — and in a manner that agrees with the prediction of general relativity to about one part in a thousand. Thus, even without direct detection of the emitted gravitational radiation, this provides strong evidence for its existence. For their discovery, Hulse and Taylor were awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics. Return to Text

    5. However, see note 4, above. Return to Text

    6. From the viewpoint of energetics, therefore, cosmic rays provide a naturally occurring accelerator that is far more powerful than any we have or will construct in the foreseeable future. The drawback is that although the particles in cosmic rays can have extremely high energies, we have no control over what slams into what — when it comes to cosmic ray collisions, we are passive observers. Furthermore, the number of cosmic ray particles with a given energy drops quickly as the energy level increases. While about 10 billion cosmic ray particles with an energy equivalent to the mass of a proton (about one-thousandth of the design capacity of the Large Hadron Collider) strike each square kilometer of earth's surface every second (and quite a few pass through your body every second as well), only about one of the most energetic particles (about 100 billion times the mass of a proton) would strike a given square kilometer of earth's surface each century. Finally, accelerators can slam particles together by making them move quickly, in opposite directions, thereby creating a large center of mass energy. Cosmic ray particles, by contrast, slam into the relatively slow moving particles in the atmosphere. Nevertheless, these drawbacks are not insurmountable. Over the course of many decades, experimenters have learned quite a lot from studying the more plentiful, lower-energy cosmic ray data, and, to deal with the paucity of high-energy collisions, experimenters have built huge arrays of detectors to catch as many particles as possible. Return to Text

    7. The expert reader will realize that conservation of energy in a theory with dynamic spacetime is a subtle issue. Certainly, the stress tensor of all sources for the Einstein equations is covariantly conserved. But this does not necessarily translate into a global conservation law for energy. And with good reason. The stress tensor does not take account of gravitational energy — a notoriously difficult notion in general relativity. Over short enough distance and time scales — such as occur in accelerator experiments — local energy conservation is valid, but statements about global conservation have to be treated with greater care. Return to Text

    8. This is true of the simplest inflationary models. Researchers have found that more complicated realizations of inflation can suppress the production of gravitational waves. Return to Text

    9. A viable dark matter candidate must be a stable, or very long-lived, particle — one that does not disintegrate into other particles. This is expected to be true of the lightest of the supersymmetric partner particles, and hence the more precise statement is that the lightest of the zino, higgsino, or photino is a suitable dark matter candidate. Return to Text

    10. Not too long ago, a joint Italian-Chinese research group known as the Dark Matter Experiment (DAMA), working out of the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy, made the exciting announcement that they had achieved the first direct detection of dark matter. So far, however, no other group has been able to verify the claim. In fact, ariother experiment, Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS), based at Stanford and involving researchers from the United States and Russia, has amassed data that many believe rule out the DAMA results to a high degree of confidence. In addition to these dark matter searches, many others are under way. To read about some of these, take a look at
    Return to Text
    Last edited by Reviewer; 10-14-2012, 10:00 PM.