Relativity and Cosmology


Rethinking Einstein's Rotation Analogy

Authors: Richard J. Benish

Einstein built general relativity (GR) on the foundation of special relativity (SR) with the help of an analogy involving uniformly rotating bodies. Among this analogy's most useful implications are those concerning the need for non-Euclidean geometry. Although GR is well-supported by observations, a curious fact is that almost all of them are of phenomena over the surfaces of large gravitating bodies; i.e., they support the exterior solution. Whereas the interior solution remains untested. In particular, the prediction that the rate of a clock at the center of a gravitating body is a local minimum remains untested. The Newtonian counterpart for this prediction of GR is the common oscillation prediction for a test mass dropped into a hole through a larger gravitating body. The main point in what follows is that this prediction needs to be checked by direct observation. Einstein's analogy serves as a launching pad for bringing out the significance of this experiment as well as exposing possible weaknesses in a few other assumptions, which are then also duly questioned. To facilitate looking upon these problems with fresh eyes, we invoke an imaginary civilization whose members know a lot about rotation but nothing about gravity. Their home is a large and remote rotating body whose mass is too small to make gravitational effects easily noticeable. What would these people think of Einstein's rotation analogy?

Comments: 7 Pages. 2012 FQXi Essay Contest Entry

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[v1] 2012-10-08 19:04:42

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