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University of Sulaimani

Faculty of Science and Science Education

School of Science Education

Physics Department

Lecture on:

Newton’s and Einstein’s theories of gravity

By

Halo Anwar Abdulkhalaq

May 2014

Overview

• Introduction

• Newton’s theory gravity

• Newton’s failure

• Einstein’s theory of gravity

• The successful tests of Einstein theory

1. Aim of the lecture

two important theories (Newtonian and General

relativity). By the end of the lecture we should be able

to recognise both theories and be able to understand

the failure of Newton’s theory and the need to

Einstein’s correction.

2.Introduction

• Throughout the history of physics there were

many attempts to understand natural forces in

the Universe.

• Gravity is one of the four fundamental forces

exist in nature and it is the weakest one

• Newton published the idea of gravity in his

book ‘’ the Principa’’ on 5th of July 1687.

• While Einstein published his famous paper on

general relativity theory in November 1915.

3.Newton’s theory of gravity

• states that any two objects exert a gravitational force of

attraction on each other. The magnitude of the force is

proportional to the product of the gravitational masses

of the objects, and inversely proportional to the square

of the distance between them (fig. 1). For example in

the case of Earth and moon it is given as:

M e mm

Fgrav G 2

r

G: is universal gravitational constant = 6.67 x 10-11 N m 2 /kg 2

Figure 1

• In the case of an object on earth the force of

gravity is given as:

M em

Fgrav G 2

Re

it can be written as:

Fgrav mg

and Re = 6.38 x 106 m is the radius of the earth hence:

Me m

g G 2

9 .8 2

Re s

4. Newton’s failure

• Newton claimed, gravity was a constant,

instantaneous force, the information about a sudden

change of mass would have to be somehow

communicated across the entire universe at once.

• And even the action between two very distant

masses would happen faster than the velocity of light

which is ultimate speed exist in the Universe and

nothing would exceed that speed according to

Einstein.

• The light from sun takes 8 minutes to reach earth,

but according to Newton if Sun disappears we on

earth feel it instantaneously.

5. Einstein’s theory of gravity

• Einstein states that the gravity is geometry

through his famous equation (the Einstein

field equations), more specifically he says the

curvature of spacetime is gravity.

• The idea is that the massive objects in the

Universe warp spacetime and produce a

curvature around themselves which let the

other small particles to move according to it.

The path that each body takes in the curved spacetime

is called geodesic, and the body moves according to

geodesic equation which is equivalent to equation of

motion in classical mechanics.

Einstein Field Equations

geometry of spacetime, G is Newtonian constant.

• T is stress-energy tensor which describes the

properties of matter, c is the speed of light.

• It is easy to notice that this equation is linking

geometry to matter as Einstein himself claims.

• In this formula matter tells geometry how to be and

geometry tells matter how to move (fig. 2,3)

Figure 2

Figure 3

6. The successful tests of Einstein theory

• Every theory goes under tests to examine its success,

Einstein’s general relativity theory (Gravity theory)

passed many tests successfully in the macro scales.

• One of those tests is bending of light, as it was

believed that light is move in the straight path but

Einstein corrected this and stated that even light will

follow the path on the curved spacetime produced by

massive objects (fig. 4)

• Another test was a perihelion precession of mercury

(fig.5), Newton formula was not precise to explain this

problem in exact way.

• On the other hand Einstein’s formula was successful to

find this precession.

• The precession observationally is (5600 arcsec/century),

Einstein’s theoretical value was exactly the same, while

Newton’s value was (5557 arcsec/century)

Figure 4

Figure 5

References

1. S. M. Carroll, lecture note on general relativity,

http://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/9712019.pdf

2. http://physics.ucr.edu/~wudka/Physics7/Notes_www/node9

8.html

3. http://theory.uwinnipeg.ca/physics/circ/node7.html

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