Friday, 1 April 2016
The hot topic in physics at the moment is gravitational waves, ripples in the curvature of spacetime generated by gravitational interactions and predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916 on the basis of his theory of general relativity. They were first oberved in February, and surely a Nobel Prize is imminent for the collaborative teams that made the discovery.
And could it be that a future Nobel Prize might wing its way to Cornwall, and to Prof. Richard Head's ever-resourceful team at the Bodmin Institute. Prof. Head has just announced that a small team, led by Dr. Eric McToo, has shown that a rapidly spinning flywheel can distort spacetime and effectively slow time down in its near vicinity.
Ever sceptical, I decided to test this out myself, at the local gym using an exercise bike, which of course is driven via a flywheel. I set the time for a 20 minute session and began pedalling away, but did not look at the time on the machine. After what I estimated to be 20 minutes I stopped pedalling and was astounded to see that only 15 minutes had elapsed, proof indeed of a distortion in the spacetime continuum. I have also tested this on a rowing machine, and can say categorically that such exercise equipment definitely does slow down time.
But the real challenge now lies ahead, the quest to speed up time in a selected place. This would have profound consequences for all the process industries by enhancing the kinetics of physical and chemical reactions and Dr. McToo has asked me to pass on any suggestions to how this might be achieved.