Category:General Relativity (1916)

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General Relativity (1916)


1916 – 1960

Einstein's 1916 general theory of relativity was published as xxxx

... the theory of relativity resembles a building consisting of two sparate stories, the special theory and the general theory. The special theory, on which the general theory rests, applies to all physical phenomena with the exception of gravitation; the general theory provides the law of gravitation and its relations to the other forces of nature.
— Albert Einstein, "What is the Theory of Relativity?", 1919    


GR1916 was a full-blown principle theory that was strong in terms of falsifiability in that if any of the principles were violated, the theory (in terms of implementation) would be wrong.

This happened in 1960 when it was realised that special relativity and the GPoR were geometrically incompatible. Considered in these terms, GR1916 was a failure, but a scientifically honorable one –it might have been expected that our first official attempt at a general theory of relativity – a "mk 1" version" – might not have gotten everything right from the start.


Ten years before the accepted 1960 breakdown, Einstein was already expressing misgivings about the validity of the SR component in his 1916 general theory, referring to the 1916 "SR + GR" approach as being the best that could have been managed at the time, but no longer defensible with hindsight. It was not obviousy valid, said Einstein, to impose a distinction between gravitational and non-gravitational physics, or to use GR only to describe the effevts that we currently considered gravitational, in the hope that everything else could be correctly dealt with by special relativity. The only components that should be used in a general theory were those that were provably conformable with the GPoR.


We can respond to the incompatibility between SR and the GPoR in two main ways:

Further reading

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