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written by Richard Epp
This web page contains a history of general relativity within the framework of Einstein's rotating disk thought experiment. Written in lay terms, it provides descriptions, explanations, and illustrations of how the Theory of General Relativity came about, why it displaced Newton's model of gravity, and why it became the next physics paradigm.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
General Physics
- History
- General Relativity
- History
- High School
- Informal Education
- Graduate/Professional
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Nonfiction Reference
- Audio/Visual
= Graph
= Illustration
= Photograph
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- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
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© 2005 Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Einstein, General Relativity, Georg Friedrich Riemann, Law of Universal Gravitation, gravitational field, gravitational time dilation, gravity, history, thought experiment, time dilation
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 7, 2008 by Christopher Bares
Record Updated:
June 20, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 7, 2008
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 9-12: 4F/H2. All motion is relative to whatever frame of reference is chosen, for there is no motionless frame from which to judge all motion.
  • 9-12: 4F/H3c. In empty space, all electromagnetic waves move at the same speed—the "speed of light."

10. Historical Perspectives

10C. Relating Matter & Energy and Time & Space
  • 9-12: 10C/H4. A decade after Einstein developed the special theory of relativity, he proposed the general theory of relativity, which pictures Newton's gravitational force as a distortion of space and time.
  • 9-12: 10C/H5. Einstein's development of the theories of special and general relativity ranks as one of the greatest human accomplishments in all of history. Many predictions from the theories have been confirmed on both atomic and astronomical scales. Still, the search continues for an even more powerful theory of the architecture of the universe.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: History and Philosophy of Physics
Unit Title: From Metaphysics to Relativity

How did Einstein develop the Theory of General Relativity? This tutorial was written to help non-scientists understand how Einstein used "thought experiments" to construct the revolutionary theory that superseded Newton's gravitational model and served to connect space, time, and gravity.

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Record Link
AIP Format
R. Epp, (2005), WWW Document, (http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/en/Outreach/Explore_Our_Universe/Essence_of_General_Relativity/).
R. Epp, Perimeter Institute: Essence of General Relativity (2005), <http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/en/Outreach/Explore_Our_Universe/Essence_of_General_Relativity/>.
APA Format
Epp, R. (2008, July 7). Perimeter Institute: Essence of General Relativity. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/en/Outreach/Explore_Our_Universe/Essence_of_General_Relativity/
Chicago Format
Epp, Richard. Perimeter Institute: Essence of General Relativity. July 7, 2008. http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/en/Outreach/Explore_Our_Universe/Essence_of_General_Relativity/ (accessed 24 April 2014).
MLA Format
Epp, Richard. Perimeter Institute: Essence of General Relativity. 2005. 7 July 2008. 24 Apr. 2014 <http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/en/Outreach/Explore_Our_Universe/Essence_of_General_Relativity/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Richard Epp", Title = {Perimeter Institute: Essence of General Relativity}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {24 April 2014}, Month = {July 7, 2008}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%A Richard Epp
%T Perimeter Institute: Essence of General Relativity
%D July 7, 2008
%U http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/en/Outreach/Explore_Our_Universe/Essence_of_General_Relativity/
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Epp, Richard
%D July 7, 2008
%T Perimeter Institute: Essence of General Relativity
%V 2014
%N 24 April 2014
%8 July 7, 2008
%9 text/html
%U http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/en/Outreach/Explore_Our_Universe/Essence_of_General_Relativity/

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