BBC series tests Einstein`s theory of relativity

In a rare test of Einstein`s theory of relativity, BBC flew an atomic clock held at NPL in Teddington.

Last Updated: Sep 12, 2010, 17:50 PM IST

London: In a rare test of Einstein`s theory of relativity, the BBC flew an atomic clock held at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington around the world for a new series that started this week.

The clock was flown around the world by BBC One`s `Bang Goes The Theory` series, produced in partnership with The Open University.
In the test described as `extremely rare`, the clock flew for 800 km over fifty hours and was found to have slowed by 230 ? 20 nanoseconds, compared to an atomic clock that
stayed in exactly the same position at the NPL in Teddington.

The experiment was a repeat of the famous Hafele-Keating experiment and revealed the time dilation effects predicted by Einstein`s Theory of Relativity.

`Bang Goes The Theory` presenter, Dallas Campbell, who accompanied the clock on its lengthy journey said: "Hopefully we`ve demonstrated that you don`t need a Delorian and a Flux Capacitor to have your own mini Back To The Future adventure.
"I`m hoping that the extra 250 nanoseconds doesn`t show, but it`s a small price to pay to prove that time really does fly when you`re having fun." To reveal these effects, organisers required the use of highly accurate atomic clocks, calibrated to check that they are perfectly in sync with each other? Ticking down the nanoseconds (one billionth of a second: 0.000 000 001 seconds) in complete unison.

One clock was taken on a trip around the world, whilst the other one stayed at the NPL in Teddington. When the two clocks were reunited, according to Einstein`s theories, they should no longer be in sync – the clock that travelled around the world should be ahead of the stationary clock by a significant amount.
The results demonstrate that Einstein`s theories are correct, as `Bang Goes The Theory` and the NPL were able to measure a clear time-shift of 230 ? 20 nanoseconds between the
two clocks involved in the experiment. This agrees with the time-shift predicted by Einstein, the Open University said.

PTI