The Gravity Probe B Test of Einstein: The Engineering of a Physics Experiment in Space & the Role of Students in it
Wednesday, 7 May 2008, Skilling Auditorium.
Light Refreshments at 4:00, talk at 4:15
Gravity Probe B, launched from Vandenberg AFB on April 20, 2004, is a test of Einstein’s theory of general relativity based on cryogenic electrically suspended gyroscopes in Earth-orbit. It is now in the final stages of data analysis.
NASA support for GP-B commenced in 1964. From the beginning it has been collaboration between Stanford, NASA and industry, and a unique partnership between the Stanford Physics and Aero Astro Departments coordinated through the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory. One of the most striking features has been the intense ‘real-life’ engineering experiences graduate, undergraduate and even high school students of gain through it as a result of the close interaction at every stage with industry. To date there have been 83 doctorates (29 physics, 53 engineering, 1 math) and ~ 353 undergraduate participants from 11 different Stanford departments. I shall offer some reflections on this student experience and possible future opportunities.
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