Monday, June 14, 2010

Inertial mass != gravitational mass

One principle of modern physics is that inertial and gravitational mass are equivalent: it doesn't matter whether you're standing on the surface of an object with enough mass to provide a gravitational pull of 1g or on a flat surface being accelerated at 32 ft/sec², the effects of both frames on you is the same.

Well, it turns out that isn't really so. The paper's rather technical, but it turns out at the quantum level you can get things that behave as if they had different masses depending on whether you're looking at gravitational or inertial forces acting on them. This should lead to some interesting physics in the next few years.

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