Measurements of the gravitational constant using two independent methods

Nature. 2018 Aug;560(7720):582-588. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0431-5. Epub 2018 Aug 29.


The Newtonian gravitational constant, G, is one of the most fundamental constants of nature, but we still do not have an accurate value for it. Despite two centuries of experimental effort, the value of G remains the least precisely known of the fundamental constants. A discrepancy of up to 0.05 per cent in recent determinations of G suggests that there may be undiscovered systematic errors in the various existing methods. One way to resolve this issue is to measure G using a number of methods that are unlikely to involve the same systematic effects. Here we report two independent determinations of G using torsion pendulum experiments with the time-of-swing method and the angular-acceleration-feedback method. We obtain G values of 6.674184 × 10-11 and 6.674484 × 10-11 cubic metres per kilogram per second squared, with relative standard uncertainties of 11.64 and 11.61 parts per million, respectively. These values have the smallest uncertainties reported until now, and both agree with the latest recommended value within two standard deviations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't