Gravitational Strength Forces at Short Distances
Research supported by the National Science Foundation
Newtons 1665 theory of gravity explained why an apple is attracted to the center of the Earth, and why the Earth is attracted to the Sun. It wasnt until 1798 that Henry Cavendish showed that two objects separated by a meter or so will also be drawn together according to Newtons universal inverse square law. In modern times, precision tests of the gravitational inverse-square law have covered inter-mass separations from centimeters out to about one light-year, but until very recently we had almost no information about gravity at shorter distances.
Our experiment uses a tungsten torsional oscillator (red, above) to investigate gravity and gravitational strength forces at distances as small as 0.1 millimeter. The source of gravitational field is a tungsten vibrating reed (blue, above). The source and detector are separated by a stiff conducting shield to supress background forces due to electrostatics and residual gas in the vacuum chamber.
Preprint of our 1998 Nuclear Physics B review of this subject
Preprint of a paper for the MG-9 proceedings
Slides from a talk by Josh Long at Snowmass 2001
News article on this topic by Riley Newman
See John Price's vita for a complete list of our publications
Josh Long, Postdoc
Mike Varney, Graduate Student
Elizabeth Watt, Undergraduate
John Price, Professor
Eric Gulbis, Graduate Student
Hilton Chan, Undergraduate
Allison Churnside, Undergraduate