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General Relativity

General Relativity

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Published by Simon
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Published by: Simon on Jun 11, 2011
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09/29/2014

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HISTORYOFGENERALRELATIVITY
.
'
.
AlbertEinstein'sgeneraltheoryof
relativityisone
of
thetoweringachievementsof20th-century
physics..Published
in
1916
1
itexplains
thatwhatweperceiveastheforceofgravityin
fact
arisesfrom
the
curvatureofspace
and
time,
Einstelinpropos@dthatobjectssuchasthesunandtheEarthchange
thisQ,eometry,lnthepresenceofmatterand
energ,y
it
canevolve,
stretchandwarp,formingridqes,mountainsand
valleys
thatcausebodiesmovingthrough
it
to
zigzagandcurve,Soalthough
Earth
appears.
to
bepulled
towards
thesunby
gravity,
there
is
no
such
force,
It
issimplythegeometryofspace-timearound
the,
sun
tellingiEarthhowtomove,
Theg.eneraltheoryofrelativity
hasfar-reachinq
consequences"
Itnot
onlyexplainsthemotionofthe
planets;
it
canalsodescribethe
historyandexpansionof
the
universe,the
physicsofblackholesand
thebendingofliqhtfrom
distantstarsand
galaxies.
PHYSICIS1:SUPERSTAR
By193Q,Albert
einsteinand
ArthurEddlhgton
were
famousfor
thei
r
work
Oil
generalrelativity
!n
1919,tM
EnglishastronomerArthurEddingtontravelledtotheislamlofPrincipeoftthecoastofwestAfricatoseeIftiecoulddetectthelensingoflightpredicted
by
generalrelativity;Hisplanwastaobserve
a
brightcluster
cf
starscalledtheHyades
as
thesunpassedInfrontofthem,asseenfromEarth,Toseethestarlight,Eddingtonneeded..totalsolareelipse
to
blot
outthe
glare,
oflhesun,
If
Einstein'stheory
wo.s
correct,
the
positionsofthestarsIntheHyadeswouldappeartoshiftbyabout1I20QOthofadegree.TopinpoinUhepositionoftheHyade.sInthesky,Elddlngtontlrst
tooka
pictureatnightfrom
Oxford.
Then,on29
Mily1919,hephotographedtheHyadesastheylayillmostellrectlybehindthesunduringthetotaleclipsethatPrrn~lpeexperienced
thatdilY,Comparing
the1womeasurements,Eddingtonwasable
toshow
thattheshiftwasasEinsteinh~dpredll;;tedamitoolarge
to
beexplained
by
Newton'stheory.Followingtheeclipseexpedition;therewassomecontroversythatEddington'sanalysishadbeenbiasedtowardsgeneralrelativity,Matters'were
putto
restinthelate
Hl70s
wilenthepl'iotographic
plates
wereanalysed.again
<ind
liddlngton'sanaly.siswas
sh
ownto
be
correct..Eddlngton'sresultturnedEinsteinIntoanInterna.tlonalsuperstar:"Einstein'stheorytriumphs"was
theheadlineof
TheTimes
oflondon,I"romthen
on,
asmoreconsequencesofhistheoryhavebeendls!;overeo,generalrelativityhasbecomeentrel'!~hedIn
the
POPUIi!fImagination,with
its
descriptionsof
exp'!I9dinguniverSI;l$andblackholes.
In1959,tneAmerlcanpnyslc:lsts
Roberti?ou
ndand
G
lenRebka
measuredtnegravitationalred-shWtlngof
11g
htIntheirlaboratory
at
Harllard
U.nlverslty;thereby
confirmingthelasteftha
tliree
classicaltestsofgeneralrelatlv!ty,
sJuly2010
I
NewS'clentlst
1111

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