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Abstract:
From all the fundamental constants, a precise and definite measurement for the gravitational constant G remains elusive. While it was the first fundamental constant to be determined experimentally, at the heart of the problems resides the fact that the gravitational interaction is weak. It has been recognized within the community that the dispersion in the values of G and the relatively low precision of the measurements is something that needs to be fixed. While the low value of G makes the gravitational force small, it is interesting to note that it is not the sensitivity in determining the force what hampers a better determination of G but the plethora of systematic errors which affect the absolute metrology of the different experiments. In the talk I will present a synopsis of the methods used to determine the universal gravitational constant and the approach we have decided to use at IUPUI. I will show that the experiment is very simple, at a level that any physics junior student could follow (or even design). The devil is in the details, and while the idea is simple it will be clear that new techniques need to be developed and implemented to decrease systematic errors. A few of these techniques will be outlined to show why we expect to increase the precision of the measurement by two orders of magnitude.

 

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Refreshments at 3:00 pm in the Physics Conference Room LD 154B
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