Nicholas Percival is one of the main science judges this year for the festival.
Nick graduated from Harvard in 1964 with a degree in Physics. That started a, now, 45 year focus on the Twin Paradox and from those studies a unique view of the relationship between Special Relativity and aether theory.
Most CNPS members can relate to Nick’s path espousing his alternative views. Nick initially debated many individual professors who held standard views of how the net proper time difference accumulates in a Twin Paradox scenario. The problems encountered in those debates led Nick to define a new debate methodology. New debates are done entirely in terms of pairs of events and the PROPER time between those event pairs – the technique is described at http://twinparadox.net/ In addition, Nick published 5 papers defining his views. Despite, ?winning? debates, little impact on the physics community resulted. Hence, Nick’s current focus is on his proposed experiment for NASA to “Look Inside the Twin Paradox”.
The experiment is designed to determine if the net proper time difference in a Twin Paradox scenario exists and, if it does, whether it’s a function of relative velocity or a function of velocity with respect to a unique frame. Special Relativity is alleged to predict that the “traveling” twin will always lose proper time, however, the experiment is arranged so that if the proper time difference is a function of velocity with respect to a unique frame, then the “traveling” twin will GAIN proper time with respect to the “stay-at-home” twin.
Independent of the experiment, Nick holds the rare, if not unique, view that both relativists and aether theorists are correct. Nick contends that Special Relativity gives the observed space-time models for each inertial frame. Hence, Special Relativity defines an infinite number of space-time models describing the (distorted) space-time view for each observer – these space-time models are in apparent contradiction one to the other. In contrast, aether theory describes the single, physical space-time model that underlies Special Relativity’s observed space-time models. Interestingly, aether theory and Special Relativity both use the same geometry in their space-time models.
As an entrepreneur, Nick started several companies. Most recently, Nick, starting in the late 1990’s, co-founded TeacherWeb.com with the goal of providing teachers/educators a super easy way to create and update webs for communicating with students (and parents). Nick developed the software system and received a patent for the technology that enabled ease of use even for those not familiar with the Internet or computers.