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Lead pencil proves the theory of relativity

The days of expensive stellar experiments to test out Albert Einstein's landmark 'theory of relativity, summed up by the famous formula, E=mc2 may be over, with a team of British, Russian and Dutch scientists at The University of Manchester, proving it in the lab with just the help of the humble lead of a pencil.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2005 11:40 IST

The days of expensive stellar experiments to test out Albert Einstein's landmark 'theory of relativity, summed up by the famous formula, E=mc2 may be over, with a team of British, Russian and Dutch scientists at The University of Manchester, proving it in the lab with just the help of the humble lead of a pencil.

The group, led by Professor Andre Geim of the School of Physics and Astronomy, used an ultra-thin material called Graphene to show how electric charges in it appear to behave like relativistic particles with no mass, called massless Dirac fermions, which are described by Einstein's relativity theory. They showed that the particles are pulled by magnetic fields in such a manner that they gain a dynamic (motion) mass described by the famous Einstein's equation E=mc2. This is similar to the case of photons (particles of light) that have no mass.

First Published: Nov 12, 2005 11:40 IST