How Einstein's theory of gravitation experienced a Renaissance after World War II

Einstein's 1915 theory of gravitation, also known as General Relativity, is now considered one of the pillars of modern physics. It contributes to our understanding of cosmology and of fundamental interactions between particles. But that was not always the case. Between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, General Relativity underwent a period of stagnation, during which the theory was mostly considered as a stepping-stone for a superior theory. In a special issue of The European Physical Journal H just published, historians of science and physicists actively working on General Relativity and closely related fields share their views on the process, during the post-World War II era, in particular, which saw the "Renaissance" of General Relativity, following progressive transformation of the theory into a bona fidae physics theory.

In this special issue, new insights into the historical process leading to this renaissance point to the extension of the foundation of the original theory, ultimately leading to a global transformation in its character. Contributions from several experts reveals that the theory of 1915 was insufficient to reach firm conclusions without being complemented by intuitions drawn from the resources of pre-relativistic . Or, in the case of cosmology, the theory needed to be complemented by philosophical considerations that were hardly generalizable to help solve more mundane problems.

As physicist Pascual Jordan puts it, there was a "mismatch between the simplicity of the physical and epistemological foundations and the annoying complexity of the corresponding thicket of formulae."

A number of contributions in this special issue also explain how the theory underwent a period of successive controversies, leading by the 1960s, to the renaissance of the . Subsequently, it became in the 1970s, an important, empirically well-tested branch of theoretical physics related to the new, successful sub-discipline of relativistic astrophysics.


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More information: Alexander Blum et al, Editorial introduction to the special issue "The Renaissance of Einstein's Theory of Gravitation", The European Physical Journal H (2017). DOI: 10.1140/epjh/e2017-80023-3
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Citation: How Einstein's theory of gravitation experienced a Renaissance after World War II (2017, July 12) retrieved 21 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-07-einstein-theory-gravitation-experienced-renaissance.html
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Jul 31, 2017
Einstein's relativity is logically wrong, just look at the symmetric twin paradox. Two twins made separate space travels in the same velocity and acceleration relative to the earth all the time during their entire trips but in opposite directions. According to special relativity, each twin should find the other twin's clock ticking more slowly than his own clock during the entire trip because of the relative velocity between them because acceleration did not have any effect on kinematic time dilation in special relativity. But when they came back to the earth, they found their clocks had exact the same time because of symmetry. Thus, there is a contradiction which has disproved special relativity. This thought experiment demonstrates that relativistic time is not our physical time and can never be materialized on physical clocks.


Jul 31, 2017
Einstein's relativity is logically wrong, just look at the symmetric twin paradox.
I don't think there is such a thing as a symmetric twin paradox. News to me anyway.

Aug 01, 2017
...when they came back to the earth, they found their clocks had exact the same time because of symmetry. Thus,,,,
Thus there was no paradox.

Aug 01, 2017
...when they came back to the earth, they found their clocks had exact the same time because of symmetry. Thus,,,,
Thus there was no paradox.

The paradox is that each twin finds the other twin's clock tick more slowly than his clock during the entire trip, but the result is that their clocks have the same time.

Aug 01, 2017
The paradox is that each twin finds the other twin's clock tick more slowly than his clock
Yes their time signals would be red shifted when they separate but blue shifted otherwise.

Aug 07, 2017
The paradox is that each twin finds the other twin's clock tick more slowly than his clock
Yes their time signals would be red shifted when they separate but blue shifted otherwise.


The sound waves will behave the same!

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