Monday, July 24, 2006

The Sagnac effect

Can you give an example of an experiment giving results which are contrary to Einstein's predictions?
A. - Yes. One of the most simple and remarkable experiment showing that Nature is not compatible with Einstein's hypothesis is the one described by Sagnac in 1914. (Ref. Sagnac M. G., J. de Phys., 1914, 4, 177-195).

In 1913, Georges Sagnac showed that if light is sent in two opposite circular directions on a revolving platform, the speed of the light beam turning in the same direction as the platform will be greater than the speed of the light beam that is turning opposite the direction of the table.

The results of this experiment seemed to contradict the then-new theory of relativity. Georges Sagnac was an ardent opponent of the theory of relativity, but it was soon proven that the results could very well be explained by general relativity and later on special relativity.

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