London, April 6: An Indian-origin teenaged student in Britain has won a top prize and 500 pounds for his research on Albert Einstein's special relativity theory.
The project won Pratap Singh the Institute of Physics (IOP) prize at the National Science and Engineering Competition. His research will now be published in international journal Physics Education.
"I have always been very interested in physics. So when the time came for my research project - a year-long opportunity we get at our school to study any topic of our choosing - I, of course, wanted to do something in physics," the 15-year-old student of The Perse School, Cambridge, was quoted as telling Cambridge News.
"I am especially happy that over the course of this project, I was able to bring together the theory, create a mathematical model, and using just school physics lab equipment, build an apparatus to observe relativistic time dilation," Pratap said.
Pratap will verify an effect of special relativity to detect cosmic-ray muons - high-energy particles created high above the Earth. Using two Geiger-Muller tubes, he created a mathematical model for their arrival rate and without time dilation.
He then used a Raspberry Pi computer and some statistical analysis to show they followed the model predicted by Einstein's 1905 theory of special relativity. "He demonstrated remarkable creativity in his approach to the problem, bringing together theory grounded in robust science with practical ingenuity," said Johanna Kieniewicz, the IOP's head of outreach and engagement and one of the judges.