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Concept# Absolute space and time

Summary

Absolute space and time is a concept in physics and philosophy about the properties of the universe. In physics, absolute space and time may be a preferred frame.
Before Newton
A version of the concept of absolute space (in the sense of a preferred frame) can be seen in Aristotelian physics. Robert S. Westman writes that a "whiff" of absolute space can be observed in Copernicus's De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, where Copernicus uses the concept of an immobile sphere of stars.
Newton
Originally introduced by Sir Isaac Newton in Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, the concepts of absolute time and space provided a theoretical foundation that facilitated Newtonian mechanics. According to Newton, absolute time and space respectively are independent aspects of objective reality:
Absolute, true and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature flows equably without regard to anything external, and by another name is called duration: relative, appare

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This thesis is a detailed description of three experimental investigations on aqueous interfaces. All projects made use of the microjet technology or the more recently developed flat-jet technique which enables the implementation of liquid water in vacuum chambers. In the first study presented here we show that a flat-jet created from the impingement of two liquid microjets generates a laminar turbulence-free water-water interface. By colliding a Luminol solution microjet with another microjet of hydrogen peroxide solution, the chemiluminescence of Luminol reveals where the liquids mix in the flat-jet. The liquids readily mix in the rims of the flat-jet, while in the middle part the different liquids only meet via diffusion. Flat-jets are stationary systems such that the longitudinal flow direction translates into a time dimension, providing access to the interface in different total interaction times ranging from 10 to 200 µs. This timescale is difficult to access by current techniques. The water-vacuum interface is the next topic, in which we have studied aqueous solutions using microjets and photoelectron spectroscopy (MJ-PES). For the first time, we have experimentally demonstrated the implementation of an absolute photoelectron energy reference in MJ-PES. We could show that there is a concentration-dependent shift of valence bands which were previously (without this absolute energy reference) undetectable. Even though this study was done using a tabletop He plasma light source, it creates the foundation of absolute energy referencing for MJ-PES works done in, e.g., synchrotron laboratories. Lastly, we have built an experimental apparatus to investigate the water-gas interface. Such interfaces are ubiquitous in nature but lack direct experimental works on the molecular scale, namely scattering studies. This is largely due to the technical difficulty imposed by the high vapour pressure of water. The dense layer of vapour shields the liquid surface in such a way that conventional molecular beams cannot travel to and from the liquid surface without interacting with the vapour phase, destroying the initial and final states required to understand the surface scattering event at the quantum level (transmission probability of ~e^(-100)). We propose an alternative method to this: by approaching the molecular beam source and the water flat-jet to a distance of 200 µm or less, the probability of scattering solely at the liquid surface becomes realistic. We have performed preliminary experiments using the developed apparatus.

Patrick Robert Flückiger, Simon Nessim Henein, Ilan Vardi

The Foucault pendulum is a well-known mechanism used to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. It consists in a pendulum launched on linear orbits and, following Mach’s Principle, this line of oscillation will remain fixed with respect to absolute space but appear to slowly precess for a terrestrial observer due to the turning of the Earth. The theoretical proof of this phenomenon uses the fact that, to first approximation, the Foucault pendulum is a harmonic isotropic two degree of freedom (2-DOF) oscillator. Our interest in this mechanism follows from our research on flexure-based implementations of 2-DOF oscillators for their application as time bases for mechanical timekeeping. The concept of the Foucault pendulum therefore applies directly to 2-DOF flexure based harmonic oscillators. In the Foucault pendulum experiment, the rotation of the Earth is not the only source of precession. The unavoidable defects in the isotropy of the pendulum along with its well-known intrinsic isochronism defect induce additional precession which can easily mask the precession due to Earth rotation. These effects become more prominent as the frequency increases, that is, when the length of the pendulum decreases. For this reason, short Foucault pendulums are difficult to implement, museum Foucault pendulum are typically at least 7 meters long. These effects are also present in our flexure based oscillators and reducing these parasitic effects, requires decreasing their frequency. This paper discusses the design and dimensioning of a new flexure based 2-DOF oscillator which can reach low frequencies of the order of 0.1[Hz]. The motion of this oscillator is approximatelyplanar, like the classical Foucault pendulum, and will have the same Foucault precession rate. The construction of a low frequency demonstrator is underway and will be followed by quantitative measurements which will examine both the Foucault effect as well as parasitic precession.

2020Patrick Robert Flückiger, Simon Nessim Henein, Ilan Vardi

In 1851 Léon Foucault created a sensation with his pendulum providing a direct demonstration of the turning of the Earth. This simple device consists of a pendulum which is launched in a purely planar orbit. Following Mach's principle of inertia, the mass will continue to oscillate in the same planar orbit with respect to absolute space. For an observer on Earth, however, the plane of oscillation will turn. Conceptually speaking, Foucault constructed a very precise demonstrator showing that, when put on a rotating table, planar oscillations of an isotropic two degree of freedom oscillator remain planar with respect to an inertial frame of reference. These oscillators have currently been under study in order to construct new horological time bases. A novel concept was a spherical isotropic two degree of freedom oscillator. Theoretical computations indicate that when put on a rotating table, planar oscillations of the spherical oscillator neither remain planar in the inertial frame nor in the rotating frame of reference, but in a frame of reference rotating at exactly half the rotational speed of the rotating table. This intriguing result led to the design, construction and experimental validation of a proof of concept demonstrator placed on a motorized rotating table. The demonstrator consists of a spherical isotropic oscillator, a launcher to place the oscillator on planar orbits, a motorized rotating table and a measurement setup. The experimental data recorded by the lasers validates the physical phenomenon.

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