September 15, 2024

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# How Einstein’s Theory of Relativity Calibrates the GPS and Translates the Universe – 11/14/2021

Next time you drive and Waze tells you that your destination is 5 km away and your car should turn left soon, thank you Albert Einstein.

We know very well that Einstein was very important and that his theory of relativity, “E = mc2”, is fundamental to many things. But explaining exactly what this means is a bit complicated. Well, it’s this theory, published over 117 years ago, that calibrates the GPS and ensures drivers don’t get lost there.

Calm down, let’s get there.

## time is relative

Einstein was still a government employee at the Patent and Trademark Office when he redefined the concept of gravity and united matter, energy, space and time in a theory published in the German Journal. Annals of Physics (Annals of Physics, free translation) 1905.

Einstein drew on the experiences of other physicists to explain that time is a place, yet people can even walk in it. Quite different from this elusive concept that people ascribe.

According to the scientist, time is not a universal value, but a relative value for each observer, as well as its connection with place. The motion of any body in the universe is always distributed between the coefficients of time and space, without exceeding the speed of light.

In practical terms, this means that when you stop at a bus stop, the value of area is zero and time is running at full speed, 300,000 kilometers per second (or 1.08 billion kilometers per hour). If you run so you don’t miss the bus, time will go a little slower, as it will “give” some of your speed to half the space.

Now, if you’re in an ultrasonic spacecraft, like the one in a sci-fi movie, and you hit the speed of light, time won’t pass, because half the space has taken up its allotment.

When Einstein realized all this, he wrote “E = mc2” (Energy is equal to the value of mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light). The famous formula, defined as early as 1905, states that the faster an object is moving, the greater its mass, since it has to expend energy and apply force to accelerate.

However, the process does not happen easily, since the energy is always calculated in new mass. For a large mass to accelerate in the same way, it must apply a much greater force, which indicates that mass and energy are inseparable.

## Complete and confirmed theory

In 1915, Einstein finally modified the most important point of Newton’s laws: gravity. The German physicist did not see it as a magical force or attraction between masses almost, and after much study he concluded that the Earth revolves around the Sun due to the geometry of the universe distorted by the hot star.

For him, all objects of large mass create large curvatures in the space-time lattice, which requires the attraction of smaller objects.

To make it easier, let’s consider a very simple home experiment using balls and mats. Simply place pieces of marble on top of the thin, smooth mattress, which represents spacetime, to see that it won’t move. But when caputau balls or bowling balls were placed on the surface, the small glass balls would roll toward the heavier object, as the “fabric” of spacetime became littered with ripples and allowed this movement.

“The impact of the theory was enormous, but there was a lot of skepticism in the scientific community. Not only was Einstein thinking about the problem of Maxwell’s equations, there were ten other famous physicists looking for it as well. But he alone had the audacity to challenge already known concepts of science. ‘,” says Pashawal Pimenta, Professor of Physics at Anglo Courses.

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Einstein’s theory, of course, is not at all impossible, but it was not easy [de ser entendida]. Therefore, it took some time for her to be accepted; It was a difficult process at the time.”

## Brazilian seasoning

It was an eclipse in the skies of Brazil that cleared the doubts about the physicist’s ideas.

In May 1919, two groups of Britons observed the stars in the sky at different times: during the darkening of the sun and on ordinary nights. They wanted to find out if the beam of light from the stars was bent due to the mass of the sun by comparing images from different days.

The professor says that the first group that was on an African island did not get good results, as the glow of the constellation did not reach the cameras efficiently, due to rain and cloudy weather.

But other researchers camped out in a northeastern city have pinpointed a fine curvature, proving the expected distortion of the space-time web in the universe.

## Applied theory

“On a daily basis, it is very difficult to determine the relativity of time and space. Unless you work for the LHC [Grande Colisor de Hádrons, na sigla em inglês, o maior acelerador de partículas do mundo]Because you can’t work inside without actually realizing the theory,” laughs the physics teacher.

The Large Hadron Collider, a large tunnel under the Franco-Swiss border that conducts particle acceleration experiments, is one of the main applications of the theory of relativity in modern science.

But you don’t have to be an astronomer or have cutting-edge scientific research to realize that relativity really works. Next time you’re traveling by plane, going on a cruise, or even getting lost in a car, thank Einstein, because the theory of relativity is the main “calibration tool” for GPS satellites.

The speed of the satellites delays their internal timers every day by a few millionths of a second compared to Earth clocks. But because orbital equipment doesn’t feel the effect of gravity, timers also gain millionths of a second per day, requiring precise timing here on Earth.

Without Einstein’s formula, GPS would show inaccurate tracks of up to 10 kilometers per day.