Creating artificial gravitational fields that humans can manipulate and observe may seem like an idea from science fiction, but one researcher is now looking to turn the concept into a reality.
André Füzfa from the University of Namur has proposed a method that would allow humans to control gravity, and says it’s achievable with current technologies.
In the mathematically supported proposal, Füzfa describes the device which would take on this task, and be used to observe how magnetic fields bend space-time.
The paper, How Current Loops and Solenoids Curve Space-time, expresses the scientist’s frustration at the passive studies of gravitational fields.
To push past the current limitations, Füzfa says research must employ a device that uses superconducting electromagnets, like the technologies at CERN or the ITER reactor.
‘We finally propose an experimental setup, achievable with current technology of superconducting coils, that produces a phase shift of light of the same order of magnitude than astrophysical signals in ground-based gravitational wave observatories,’ the paper says.
Füzfa describes the experiments, which he assures do not tap into the principles of ‘new physics.’
In the first setup, large, stacked superconducting coils are used to generate an artificial gravitational field.
The second experiment detects the field through highly sensitive interferometers, which contain light-storing cavities in the arms.
The experiments so far have shown, weakly, that artificial fields generated by electric currents can be detected through a change in ‘space-time geometry.’
The scientist writes that the effect is a result of the equivalence principle.
‘The equivalence principle, at the very heart of Einstein’s general relativity, states that all types of energy produce and undergo gravitation in the same way,’ Füzfa writes.
The most widespread source of gravitation is the inertial mass, which produces permanent gravitational fields.
‘At the opposite, electromagnetic fields could be used to generate artificial, or human-made, gravitational fields, that could be switched on or off at will, depending whether their electromagnetic progenitors are present or not.’
The experiment would require major resources, but if successful, it would give humans the power to control the ‘last of four fundamental forces,’ not within our grips.
The research claims electromagnetic fields could be used to generate artificial, or human-made, gravitational fields, that could be switched on or off at will, depending whether their electromagnetic progenitors are present or not.’
Current research, the scientist argues, observes and aims to understand gravitational fields, but makes no attempts to change them.
‘Somehow, studying gravity is a contemplative activity: physicists restrict themselves to the study of natural, pre-existing, sources of gravitation,’ the paper says.
‘Generating artificial gravitational fields, that could be switched on or off at will, is a question captured or left to science-fiction.’
If Füzfa’s experiment is deemed successful, it could put Einstein’s theory of general relativity to the ultimate challenge, and revolutionize advancements in telecommunications and other technologies.