The “Gravitoelectric” Effect

I subscribe to a magazine called "New Scientist," which offers up a weekly summary of everything going on in various scientific fields, often taking the "unorthodox" perspective.  It’s something of a alternative "Scientific American" (except that it’s published in Great Britain). "New Scientist" is where I first got a fix on "Heim Theory," from a story they published back in January.  I was chagrined to discover that Heim’s name had a previously crossed my desktop in the course of my other research, but you know how it is with mules, sometimes you have to hit them in the head with the 2×4 two or three times before you really get their attention…

New Scientist often runs stories about gravity and quantum physics.  And, any story that starts out by saying, "many features of gravity remain puzzling" gets my attention because I think it is a major thesis of the work being done here that, 300-however-many years after Newton and nearly 100 years after Einstein, mankind really hasn’t got a firm grasp of what gravity is or how it actually works. 

So I paid particular attention to an article in the March 16 issue of New Scientist entitled "The Unbearable Elusiveness of Gravitons," which  discusses some  of the ongoing efforts to  substantiate a theory of "quantum gravitation:" 

…while physicists have
succeeded in formulating quantum theories of the strong force,
electromagnetism and the weak force, gravity stubbornly remains the odd
one out: decades of effort to marry gravity and quantum mechanics are
less convincing.

I gather from the body of the article that in order to be accepted as a "quantum" force, gravity has to be "transmitted" by some kind of particle:

According to quantum theory, all forces are transmitted by particles -
the photon for the electromagnetic force, the W and Z bosons for the
weak force and gluons for the strong force….Yet no one has ever seen the particle thought to convey gravity.

The article then goes on to describe the various efforts to detect a "graviton" particle, and why it is so monumentally difficult to do so.  But here’s the part that I found most intriguing, in light of what the central focus of theses pages, i.e. Townsend Brown:

Rothman and Boughn zeroed in on the gravitational analogue of the photoelectric effect. When a photon of light with enough energy strikes an atom of certain materials it kicks out an electron, generating a small electric current that signals the arrival of the photon: this is the normal photoelectric effect. There should, in theory, also be a "gravitoelectric effect", although no one has ever seen it: a graviton with enough energy to kick out an electron ought to produce an electric current that would reveal its presence.

Well now, doesn’t that have a familiar ring to it?  A "gravitoelectric effect"?  Wouldn’t that be the same (or at least the inverse to) an "electrogravitic" effect??   And gee, who first thought up that idea?  And if a graviton can produce an electrical effect, does it not further stand to reason that electrons can produce a gravitational effect?  And where have we heard that idea before??

I think it’s great that modern science is finally getting intrigued by such theories, but I do think it would be nice if they’d at least offer a nod of recognition to those who have tread similar ground before them.

Please discuss this in The Science of Townsend Brown section of the forums. 

(note: I’m not sure how good the link above to this article is going to be. Unfortunately, the people at New Scientist don’t want you reading their entire texts unless you’re a subscriber.  I can’t even e-mail myself a link to the whole article.  But a subscription to New Scientist Online is only $5/yr, and it might be well worth it if you want to follow stuff like this.)

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