World Culture

Was Einstein the First to Discover General Relativity?


November 25, 2015 by Debra Liese

Today the world celebrates the day 100 years ago that Albert Einstein submitted his final version of the general theory of relativity to the Prussian Royal Academy. A theory of gravitation with critical consequences, it completely transformed the field of theoretical physics and astronomy. Einstein has long been celebrated and popularized for his contribution, but some have continued to ask whether he was, in fact, the first to discover general relativity. Daniel Kennefick, co-author of An Einstein Encyclopedia, looks at the debate:

Einstein’s Race

By Daniel Kennefick

On November 25, 1915 Einstein submitted one of the most remarkable scientific papers of the twentieth century to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin. The paper presented the final form of what are called the Einstein Equations, the field equations of gravity which underpin Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Thus this year marks the centenary of that theory. Within a few years this paper had supplanted Newton’s Universal Theory of Gravitation as our explanation of the phenomenon of gravitation, as well as overthrown Newton’s understanding of such fundamental concepts as space, time and motion. As a result Einstein became, and has remained, the most famous and celebrated scientist since Newton himself.

read more

More from World Culture

John Milton (1608-1674)

  One of the greatest poets of the English language, best-known for his epic poem PARADISE LOST (1667). Milton’s powerful, rhetoric prose and the eloquence of his poetry had an immense influence especially on the 18th-century verse. Besides poems, Milton … read more

The Cavalier Poets

Cavalier Poets is a broad description of a school of English poets of the 17th century, who came from the classes that supported King Charles I during the English Civil War. Much of their poetry is light in style, and … read more

Various Political Philosophies

Anarchism – Mutualism Anarchism, meaning “no rule”, includes any belief system which is opposed to the creation of a centralized government. Anarchism as a formal ideology became popular in 19th century Europe, where it was often the ideology of extreme … read more

The Death of Socialism

by Roger Kimball Those who dare to undertake the institution of a people must feel themselves capable, as it were, of changing human nature, of transforming each individual … into a part of a much greater whole, … of altering … read more

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832), German poet, novelist, playwright, courtier, and natural philosopher, one of the greatest figures in Western literature. Throughout his life Goethe was interested in a variety of studies and pursuits. He made important discoveries … read more