Berkeley Lab Physicist Challenges Speed of Gravity Claim

Albert Einstein may have been right that gravity travels at the same speed as light but, contrary to a claim made earlier this year, the theory has not yet been proven. A scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) says the announcement by two scientists, widely reported this past January, about the speed of gravity was wrong.Stuart Samuel, a participating scientist with the Theory Group of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division, in a paper published in Physical Review Letters, has demonstrated that an “ill-advised” assumption made in the earlier claim led to an unwarranted conclusion.

Black holes form first, galaxies follow

A new study has uncovered more evidence that black holes form before the galaxies that contain them. The finding could help resolve a long-standing debate, says the study’s lead scientist. Marianne Vestergaard, a postdoctoral fellow in astronomy at Ohio State, came to this conclusion when she studied a collection of very energetic, active galaxies known as quasars as they appeared some 12 billion years ago, when the universe was only one billion years old. While the quasars were obviously young — they contained large stellar nurseries in which new stars were forming — each also contained a very massive, fully formed black hole.

Come fly with me

Boeing has joined a small group of technology bigwigs trying to test a theory that would let engineers negate some of the effects of gravity. The American aerospace giant is using the work of controversial Russian scientist Yevgeny Podkletnov, who claims to have developed a device that can shield objects from the Earth’s pull. Other researchers claim Podkletnov’s work is hokum, but considering the cost savings such a device would represent for air travel, Boeing seems intent on getting to the bottom of it all. The Russian says he found that objects above a superconducting ceramic disc rotating over powerful electromagnets lost weight, the BBC reports. “The reduction in gravity was small, about 2 percent, but the implications — for example, in terms of cutting the energy needed for a plane to fly — were immense.”

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