Einstein at least 99.95% right

By Gavin, 7th January 2007

Announced late last year, but I only just noticed, “An international research team led by Prof. Michael Kramer of the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory, UK, has used three years of observations of the “double pulsar”, a unique pair of natural stellar clocks which they discovered in 2003, to prove that Einstein’s theory of general relativity – the theory of gravity that displaced Newton’s – is correct to within a staggering 0.05%.” (Jodrell Bank)


And a great addenda to my piece based on the pair, called PSR J0737-3039B which I hope will be played on Antarctica’s first artist-run radio station (go Adam!) sometime this month if it gets there!

Listen to a clip here.

The blurb of the piece, which I wrote in 2004 is here:

“PSR J0737-3039B (ds squared – series 1) [8m56s] 2004

Inspired by the discovery of the first double-pulsar system (ranked as the 6th most important scientific discovery of 2004). Pulsars are “pulsating stars” – objects with about the same amount of matter in them as our Sun, but squashed into a 20km ball. They spin very quickly (some a thousand times a second) and emit jets – creating a lighthouse type effect. These two not only spin, but rotate around each other every 2.4 hours. One spins 45 times a second, the other every 2.8 seconds. They are very chaotic, and will collide in 85 million years, maybe turning into a black hole. By analysing them we can check many of Einstein’s theories of General Relativity, which help us understand how the Universe works.

The piece is named after the slower pulsar, PSR J0737-3039B, or alternatively ‘ds squared – series 1’, reflecting some of the 4 dimensional geometric properties used in this field. Collaborators: Andrew Newsam (Astronomer + Software), Peter Clive (Piano), Jaako Mattila (Artist), Ulya Gumeniuk (Artist), Aidan Keane (Cosmologist)

Dorkbot, London, UK 2004
Iberne Radio Telescope, Latvia 2004.
Sprawl, London. Nov 2004
DEAF04, Rotterdam. Nov 2004
ResonanceFM, London. Nov 2004
La France, London. February 2005
Science Museum, London. April 2005
Placard, London. September 2005
Poitiers/Bourges, France. February 2006″

I’ll get on and write the second movement then…