A new interpretation of the Hafele-Keating Experiment

von Domina Eberle Spencer und Uma Y. Shama 

A new interpretation of the Hafele-Keating Experiment 

It is generally considered that one of the most crucial experiments in support of the special theory of relativity is the Hafele-Keating experiment1. Four atomic clocks were flown around the world and then compared with the master clock in Washington, D.C. However, the original paper did not publish the raw data. Dr. Keating has been kind enough to permit us to analyze the raw data. We have found that an entirely different interpretation of the experimental data, which supports the universal time postulate on the velocity of light2, is perfectly consistent with the experimental data obtained by
Hafele and Keating. Thus, one of the essential experimental supports of the relativistic theory of time dilation is shown to be invalid. Instead, the original data provide additional strongsupport3 of the reality of the universal time postulate on the velocity of light. 

Introduction 

Two very important papers1,2 were published in 1971 by J.C. Hafele of the Department of Physics, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. and R.E. Keating of the Time Service Division, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. In October, 1971, four cesium beam clocks were flown around the world twice on regularly scheduled commercial airlines: once in each direction. The purpose of the experiment was to test Einstein’s theory of relativity with macroscopic clocks. As the experimental data were analyzed by Hafele and Keating, the confirmation of Einstein’s data appeared to be convincing. 

Dr. Keating has been kind enough to provide us with the raw experimental data. In this paper it will be shown that an analysis of the raw data yields very different results which are in agreement with the universal time postulate6

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