Eric Edelberger, Jens Gundlach and Blaine Heckel won the 2021 Decisive Award for fundamental fundamental measurements “for precise gravitational measurements that test our understanding of gravity, examining nature” dark energy And establish limits on couplings for Dark Matter, “Breakthrough Prize representatives announced today (10 September).
The trio, leaders of the EOT-Wash research group at the University of Washington in Seattle, have built instruments sensitive enough to measure the nature of gravity at incredibly short distances, the weakest of nature’s four fundamental forces. Such work has helped physicists to understand the size The universe.
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Take team research, for example Of Isaac Newton The inverse square law, which determines that the gravitational force between two objects, is proportional to the square of the distance between them. (If the distance between the objects is doubled, the attraction of gravity decreases by a factor of four.)
The inverse square law has survived every test to date. But physicists are examining it on smaller and smaller scales, because the breach there can reveal “new physics” – predicted by string theory, for example.
Measurements by Edelberger, Gundlach, Heckel, and colleagues recently showed that the inverse square law holds for objects Separated by 52 μm Breakthrough Prize representatives wrote in today’s announcement of the award, “0.002 inches),” establishing that any additional dimensions should be curled with a hair of less than 1/3 radius.
The Decision Award in Science and Mathematics was founded in 2012 by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojski and Yuri and Julia Milner. Breakthrough prize representatives have stated that the annual awards are aimed at research in life sciences, mathematics and fundamental physics and to inspire children to pursue careers in science and technology.
The Breakthrough Prize is the richest of science, with each being awarded more than three times the Nobel Prize. (Nobel these days comes with a cash prize of 9 million Swedish krones, about $ 1 million at current exchange rates.) This year four million 3 million breakthrough awards were given in life sciences, one in mathematics and two in fundamental physics.
Texas physicist Steven Weinberg won the second Physics Award, a special breakthrough award, which had wide implications for particle physics, gravity, and cosmology and communications, honoring his continued leadership in fundamental physics.[ng] Science to a wider audience. ”
Weinberg also has a Nobel under his belt, sharing the Physics Award in 1979 with Sheldon Lee Glassow and Abdus Salam “for contributions to the theory of integrated weak and electromagnetic interactions between elementary particles”, as of that year. In Nobel summary note.
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation awarded some small prizes for this year’s early career, bringing the total purse to $ 21.75 million. All these awards were announced today. You can learn more about them here.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 10:20 pm EDT on September 10 to show that the decisive award in fundamental physics went to Edelberger, Gundlach, Heckel in particular, not the EOT-WASH group Was.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out That” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the discovery of foreign life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.