3
$\begingroup$

In response to quantum mechanics, so the story goes, Einstein proposed a machine, that, based on the uncertainty principle, was a perpetual motion. This showed that quantum mechanics was at odds with evidence that energy is conserved. Bohr later showed that the analysis was flawed; Einstein had failed to take gravity into account (ironically).

Is this story true? If so, what was the machine Einstein proposed, how was it supposed to work, and what did Bohr reveal about it?

$\endgroup$

migrated from physics.stackexchange.com Oct 24 '15 at 15:17

This question came from our site for active researchers, academics and students of physics.

5
$\begingroup$

Actually what Einstein proposed was not a perpetual motion machine but was an experiment design to take down the Uncertainty principle. So Einstein design an experiment known as "Einstein's box". It was a thought experiment. He said that consider a box (ideal one) lined up with mirrors so that it contains light indefinitely. Also there is a shutter (ideal one) in the box so that one can open and let go a photon. So he said that, first weighed the box before a clockwork mechanism and chose a proper instant and open the shutter to let go one photon and measure the time. (It was design to work like that, in a clockwork mechanism). Then he proposed to weighed the box again, the change in the mass will tell us the energy emitted and that's how one can determine with precision the time and amount of energy released simultaneously, contradicting the uncertainty principle.

So Bohr pointed out that Einstein reasoning was flawed due to his own theory of gravity, as gravity effects the time so there is an uncertainty about time due to the gravity of earth and similar other reasoning.

See here

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Can't find the source for the Einstein quote but it is in the introduction to a proof that he was wrong.

A violation of the uncertainty principle implies a violation of the second law of thermodynamics

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.