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A laboratory test of Mach's principle and strong-field relativistic gravity

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A laboratory experiment that tests the validity of Mach's principle — the relativity and gravitational induction of inertia — and relativistic gravity in strong-field circumstances is described. It consists of looking for a stationary shift in the apparent weight of an object when a transient mass fluctuation is induced in one of its parts, that part then being subjected to a pulsed thrust. The transient mass fluctuation induced is of the order of a few tens of milligrams, and the stationary weight shift observed is several milligrams. Details of the apparatus used (capable of detecting an effect at the level of about a tenth of a milligram) are presented. Procedural protocols are laid out. The results obtained — signals some 10 to 15 times the standard error in magnitude — confirm to better than order of magnitude that the predicted effect is indeed present. The consequences of this confirmation of Mach's principle and relativistic gravity are briefly addressed. In particular, it is pointed out that in light of these results “radical timelessness” seems to be the correct way to understand reality and, from the practical point-of-view, it may prove possible to make traversable wormholes whenever we choose to devote sufficient resources to that end.

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Woodward, J.F. A laboratory test of Mach's principle and strong-field relativistic gravity. Found Phys Lett 9, 247–293 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02186407

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Key words

  • Mach's principle
  • experimental gravity
  • general relativity