Einstein's Theories of Relativity


Lerner KL. Einstein's Theories of Relativity. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale,. 2001.
Einstein's Theories of Relativity


At the dawn of the twentieth century the classical laws of physics put forth by Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) in the late seventeenth century stood venerated and triumphant. The laws described with great accuracy the phenomena of everyday existence. A key assumption of Newtonian laws was a reliance upon an absolute frame of reference for natural phenomena. As a consequence of this assumption, scientists searched for an elusive "ether" through which light waves could pass. In one grand and sweeping "theory of special relativity," Albert Einstein was able to account for the seemingly conflicting and counter-intuitive predictions stemming from work in electromagnetic radiation, experimental determinations of the constancy of the speed of light, length contraction, time dilation, and mass enlargements. A decade later, Einstein once again revolutionized concepts of space and time with the publication of his "general theory of relativity." (more)

Last updated on 07/09/2019