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Scientists: Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity Proven

September 25, 2010

Scientists said Friday they have found that climbing stairs or a mountain really can age you faster than going for a quick trip in your car.

The study proves Einstein’s theory of relativity — which states that time flies at high altitude, but slows down when people speed up.

Experiments in the past proved the basic premise of Albert Einstein’s theory, sending an atomic clock into space on a rocket and comparing it to one kept behind on Earth, where gravity acts to slow the passage of time.

But today, experiments conducted at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have allowed physicists to demonstrate the theory in the smallest aspects of daily life.

In the study, scientists showed how they measured the effect on a scale of about one foot to demonstrate how people age faster when standing a couple of steps higher on the staircase.

One clock keeps time within one second in about 3.7 billion years, and the other is close behind. The aluminum clocks can detect small relativity-based effects because of their extreme precision, the study said.

Lead author James Chin-Wen Chou said the results are immeasurably small, showing that climbing stairs will age you faster — about 90 billionths of a second over a 79-year lifespan.

In one of the experiments, scientists raised one of the clocks by elevating the laser table to a foot above the second clock. “Sure enough, the higher clock ran at a slightly faster rate than the lower clock, exactly as predicted,” the study said.

The team also studied how time passes more slowly when you move faster, using a car traveling at about 20 miles per hour.

The results of the study were published in the journal Science on Friday.

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