Italians create new measuring instrument for quantum physics

Instrument to help gauge movements of tiniest particles

Italians create new measuring instrument for quantum physics

Rome, December 17 - Italian scientists have created a new gravitational antenna to improve the measurement of the tiniest subjects. Their results, published in the journal Nature Physics, should help in measurement of a point, millions of times smaller than the atom, where Einstein's theory of relativity meets quantum mechanics. The project brought together experts from Italy's National Nuclear Physics Institute (INFN), from the National Laboratories of Legnaro, in Padua province, and labs at the universities of Florence, Pisa and Trento. "It's a fascinating race because it involves the new physics, that of black unknown and wonderful world," said research coordinator Francesco Marin of INFN in Florence. The point under investigation is extremely small, measured by 34 zeros and then one, and has been called a "Planck unit" in honour of the German physicist Max Planck. He won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1918 for originating quantum theory, which - together with that of relativity formulated by compatriot Albert Einstein - is one of the pillars of contemporary physics.

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