Challenge Team Interim Report

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    Team Number: 017

    School Name: Bloomfield High School

    Area of Science: Astrophysics

    Project Title: Einstein or Newton? Who was right?

Final Report

The members of Bloomfield High School Team 017 are undertaking a project that will give us a stronger understanding of science and the achievements of scientists over the years. In our project, we are comparing the gravitational ideas of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. The eventual outcome of this project will be a realistic idea of which scientist came closer to defining gravity. We will use Einstein's theory of General Relativity (E=mc2), the formula for centripetal force [F=m (v2/r)], which can be used as a substitute for Newton's law of universal gravitation, and black holes of extremely large proportions. We will then model the effects on the gravitational pull of several black holes orbiting a central, immense black hole. This will produce two lists of numbers, one for Einstein and one for Newton, that we will compare using the formula v2/c2 = GM/r c2. This should represent the mathematical differencesbetween the two scientists' fairly accurately.

In 1915, Einstein proposed General Relativity. General Relativity explains the force of gravity in terms of the curvature of a four dimensional space-time (4-D space whose points are events). The relation between energy and mass is expressed in the equation E=mc. Here E represents energy, m represents mass, and c the square of the speed of light.

Newton's law of universal gravitation describes the force that makes objects accelerate towards the center of gravity. The equation is [F=G (m1m2/d2)], where F is the force of gravitation, m1 and m2 are the masses of the attracting objects, d is the distance between their centers of mass, and G is a proportionality constant equal to 6.67 * 10-11n * m2/kg2. However, because of a problem in comparison, we are using the formula for centripetal force, [F = m (v2/r)], where b is the orbital speed of the object, m is the mass of the object, and v is the speed at which the object is orbiting. This will allow comparison by using the formula v2/c2 = GM/r c2.

Aaron and Dentin have worked as our programmers. Both have been studying how to effectively use the C++ programming language. Since both now know the basics, they will begin programming shortly. Their program code will include a setup for Einstein's equation, a setup for Newton's equation, and a setup using the comparative equation. They will also be looking for programs written by other people with similar goals. This will allow the mathematical portions of this project to be completed in an efficient manner.

Jamie and Gina have been diligently researching. They have visited several Internet sites that have provided them with indispensable information. This information includes the substitute equation for Newton and the equation that will allow for comparisons between the two scientists. They have also discovered many interesting facts about black holes. This includes the theories of many different people, professional and novice scientists alike.

Team Members

Sponsoring Teachers