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Discovery of a Method to Produce Gravitational Fields Using Principles Synthesized from Quantum and String Theory

Dahl Clark

May 2, 1999

7:11.26 pm--9:34.56 pm


Yesterday my physics teacher, Dr. Winters, was filming a metal Slinky as I was dropping it multiple times. I was standing on a table in Lab 2 on Physics Floor, holding the slinky out to the side, and Dr. Winters had positioned the camera at the rear end of Lab 2. It took a while before each drop for me to get prepared, so as I was preparing to drop the Slinky, Dr. Winters began to walk around the lab. While moving a few things to tidy up the lab, he found two rubberbands. He took one of them and started firing it across the room and at the ceiling.

This was quite an amusing sight. He remarked a few times on how the rubberband spun as it flew through the air. We were both wondering why this occurred, and around 3:00 when we were almost done with filming, I suggested a reason. When firing a rubberband, one end must be placed against both the middle and index finger. The rubberband is stretched, and when released, a part of the rubberband remains on one finger slightly longer than the other (because both fingers are of different length). As a result, the rubberband slightly pivots around one finger before it escapes the hand entirely, and this sends the rubberband spinning across the room.

At one moment when I was really paying attention to him as he was about to fire the rubberband again, I noticed the rubberband spinning through the air upon release. The rubberband alternately shrank in length along one axis, and then along another.

I thought little of this motion until this afternoon around 5:30, after I had come back from a symphony orchestra concert given by our school orchestra in the ETC. I had a seat on the balcony and saw the equipment that was being used to set up a webcast of the performance. I had been thinking to myself in the midst of the performance and the webcasting that I knew absolutely no physics at all and that was the reason I was never invited to work on more technical things at my school. I returned to my room and laid down on my bed. I knew that although I wanted so much to know physics and would probably never know as much physics as the people whose knowledge and wisdom I admire, at least I thought I had a method to create gravity. I thought about my theory so I wouldnít have to think about all the physics I didnít know, and then it suddenly hit me.

Strings are the basic components of all matter in the universe. They vibrate. Different modes of vibrations (frequencies, in my theory) are responsible for measurable properties of the elementary particles such as mass, spin, and charge. The electron is an elementary particle; we measure the electron to be an electron when we are actually measuring the vibration of an electron string (a string vibrating with an electron frequency). The graviton is an elementary particle and is what we measure as the vibration of a graviton string. The great realization: the shape of the graviton string as determined from mathematics is the same as that of a spinning rubberband. To be more exact, the graviton string looks like a one-dimensional spinning rubberband, since strings are one-dimensional.

In my theory, strings can change their frequencies of vibration when energy is added or subtracted from it, or when it combines with or decays into other strings (which, since mass is frozen energy, is another way of adding or subtracting energy from the string). This second method of changing string frequency is stated as a principle of string theory; the first method is of my theory, but synthesized from the second method plus E=mc2. According to my theory, it is possible for an electron to be converted to a graviton if only the electron stringís mode of vibration can be changed.

When stretching a rubberband, energy is being stored in the form of strained intermolecular forces. Upon release, this stored energy becomes manifest as kinetic energy. The rubberbandís kinetic energy comes in the form of translational motion across the room and also as spinning. The key point is that energy was being stored; the rubberband had a lot of potential energy built up, and when the rubberband had the opportunity to move to a lower state of energy (upon release), it began to spin.

This is how an electron can become a graviton, following the analogy of the rubberband: Store potential energy in an electron. Create a large potential difference between the electronís potential energy and a lower, ground state of energy. This can be done by oppositely charging two plates. For this example, let the positively charged plate lie above the negatively charged plate. Electric field lines will then run from the bottom plate to the top plate (for real electron current, not conventional current, which is the flow of positive charge carriers). Increasing the electric field strength increases the potential difference between the plates; this can be done by placing more charge on the plates.

If the plates are charged to a high enough degree, an electron on the negatively charged bottom plate will have so much stored potential energy that it will want to travel upwards to the positive plate. However, it cannot do this because there is an insurmountable barrier between its plate and the plate it wants to move to. What the electron needs is to be released from the hand, referring to the rubberband analogy, so that its stored potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy and it can travel to the positive plate. However, the electron must possess a lot more energy than it currently has in order to spark across the two plates.

In nature, there is an effect called quantum tunnelling that allows radioactive decay to occur. Quantum tunnelling also allows thermonuclear fusion in the Sun to occur at a lower temperature than that needed to overcome the Coulomb repulsion forces between protons. Basically, a particle is confronted with an insurmountable potential energy barrier. Say that a particle is trapped in a potential energy well, or a state of low energy. In order to move, the particle must move out of its potential well. If the walls of the potential well are very tall, then the particle must have enough stored energy to leap over the wall to move to another state of low energy. In the case of radioactive beta decay, electrons never have enough energy to spontaneously leap over their potential energy wall to escape their atom. This is where quantum tunnelling comes in, from the fact that high-energy electrons are spontaneously emitted from overweight atoms. Governed by quantum physics, an electronís probability wave tells us that there is a very small chance that the electron will "tunnel through," or overcome, its potential energy walls and escape the atom. There is a very, very small chance of this occurring, and with particles of greater size where the effects of quantum physics begins to diminish, the chance of quantum tunnelling occurring becomes even smaller. However, given lots and lots of atoms that can undergo beta decay, there is a chance that a few will undergo beta decay at some moment. The greater the energy of the particle and the smaller it is, the greater the chance that quantum tunnelling will occur.

If electrons can escape insurmountable potential energy barriers through quantum tunnelling, then they can tunnel across the space that separates the two charged plates. The higher the energy each electron possesses, the greater the chance of tunneling. The electron energy can be increased by placing more charge on the plates, thereby strengthening the electric field between the plates. When an electron undergoes quantum tunnelling, the effect is analogous to a rubberband being suddenly released. The electron, composed of a single electron string, will begin to vibrate with the frequency of a graviton string as it moves to the other plate. The electron therefore becomes a graviton. Gravitons are responsible for the creation of gravitational fields, and a gravitational force always acts in the direction of graviton motion. Since the electron was originally moving up, the newly-formed graviton is also moving up. The upward direction becomes the direction of the gravitational force created by the gravitational field of the graviton. If enough electrons become gravitons, a gravitational field of sufficient strength will be created that would have a stronger effect on the system of two plates than that of the Earthís gravitational field. The system of two plates should then move upwards, in the direction of the induced gravitational field. The induced gravitational field will always be in the direction of the plate that was made positively charged, since electrons travel from negatively-charged plates to positively-charged ones.

Combining the principles of string and quantum theory along with my version of string theory, which is composed of syntheses of various principles of string, quantum, general relativity, and special relativity theories, the final product is a method of generating gravitational fields. Since electricity is used to induce a gravitational field, Iíd like to think of this charged system of two plates as a "gravitational inductor." One fine point is that the system must be tuned very finely, since a string has an infinite number of modes of vibration, and there is only one specific mode that is known for the graviton. This point came from the rubberband analogy. While watching Dr. Winters launch rubberbands, we often noticed that sometimes the rubberband didnít spin, and often when it spun, it did not spin in the same configuration. However, there were times when we did see the rubberband spin in the "graviton configuration," where if the rubberband was a circle centered on the origin of an x-y coordinate system, the rubberband would first contract along the x-axis, then the y-axis, then the x-axis again and so on, in an alternating fashion. The rubberband must be launched a certain way to send it spinning in the graviton configuration in the same way that the electron must tunnel under a certain set of conditions in order for the electron to become a graviton. So far, these ideal conditions have not yet been determined, but what is known is the greater the energy each electron possesses, the greater the chance of tunnelling and the greater the strength of the induced gravitational field. Therefore, the goal when constructing a gravitational inductor is to increase the energy of each electron. This can be done by increasing the amount of charge on the plates, the potential difference across the plates, the electric field between the plates, and the capacitance of the system. All of these changes will accomplish the same thing. Another note on gravitational inductor construction is that having a spark run across the two plates will not suffice because in that case, the energy of the electrons is sufficient to overcome their potential energy barrier. What has to happen is quantum tunnelling, so therefore, electrons must remain on their plates. One more note is that since electron motion from one plate to another when tunnelling determines the direction of the gravitational field, and since electron motion is governed by the direction of the electric field, which is in turn governed by the configuration of the plates, changing the spacing, size, or shape of the plates should have an effect on the induced gravitational field although the specific effects cannot be determined without experiment. The final note is that the rubberband would have started off spinning regardless of whether there was air resistance or not, since what caused the motion of the rubberband was an uneven appearance of kinetic energy upon release, but if air resistance was great enough, then further motion would be hindered and the rubberband would no longer spin in the same configuration. Keeping with the rubberband analogy, the electron will be converted to a graviton regardless of the effects of air resistance or other resisting force, but if the resisting force is great enough, then the graviton would no longer vibrate at its unique frequency. Of course, the resisting force would have to be one that acted on gravitons, and only gravity acts on gravitons. This leads to another interpretation of gravitational inductor operation: the inductor operates by creating a gravitational "air resistance" to neighboring gravitational fields such as the Earthís, where the gravitational resistance is the inductorís own induced gravitational field, which causes gravitons mediating Earthís gravitational field to stop vibrating at graviton frequency. Therefore, the induced gravitational field becomes the only gravitational field in the vicinity of the inductor.

I would never have thought that all of this could come from simply watching Dr. Winters shoot rubberbands across the room. He has been my greatest source of intellectual inspiration and guidance, but never in a million years could I have thought that a method for producing gravitational fields could come from watching rubberbands fly across the room. I must have fired rubberbands a thousand times while I was younger, and never thought twice about it. It was when I saw Dr. Winters aim at the ceiling that I recognized there was something too terribly simple about the rubberbandís motion, and how we were casually discussing the physics of firing rubberbands. There was an even greater physics behind that experience, and today, I am glad to have found it. Thank you, Dr. Winters.

At the moment, I am gathering the materials to build a gravitational inductor. If, upon construction, the device does exhibit motion in the direction of its positively charged plate when charged, then this will be the first device I know of that has been constructed on the premises of string theory. This device will be an experimental tool in testing string theory, and will have applications in any area that would benefit from having knowledge of how gravitational fields act. Perhaps the graviton may be isolated for the first time if the exact conditions for electron-graviton conversion can be determined. Perhaps nuclear fusion can finally be sustained on Earth, using gravitational fields as the mechanism for containing the plasma in which fusion occurs. Perhaps a greater understanding of our universe can be obtained by finally being able to determine the role of gravity in the universe; then, gravity could be added to the Standard Model and we would finally have a Theory of Everything (only not quite everything, since there is always more physics yet to be learned, especially by me). Finally, the applications of gravitational technology on Earth and beyond are innumerable. I feel that my research has great potential, but only if I can test theory with experiment and draw conclusions based on experiment. Theory is not science; only tested theory is science. If the gravitational inductor works, then thatís good. If it doesnít work, then thereís always more research, and thatís what science is all about. Hopefully, it will work, so I donít have to live with the fact that I know absolutely no physics whatsoever. The only thing I have ever really wanted is to find some sort of simplicity and symmetry in nature that lies beneath what the limits of modern physics tells us, and to be able to share my thoughts with someone whom, I hope, is willing to listen. I think that most of us are.

Dr. Winters, if this works, weíre going to have to film Slinky drops more often.



Dahl Clark
Senior Student at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Future Physics Major of Duke University