Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion and the Law of Gravity were groundbreaking in the world of Western physics. However, even with his remarkable discoveries, questions remained unanswered. It wasn’t until the arrival of Albert Einstein and his Theory of General Relativity that the mysteries of gravity were finally unlocked.
The Birth of General Relativity
Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity was published in 1905 and dealt with the speed of light and the motion of objects. However, it was not until 1915 that he published his Theory of General Relativity, which explained the source of gravity and its workings. It answered the questions that Newton’s theory could not, such as why objects attract each other and why Mercury’s orbit jiggles.
Einstein’s Key Insights
In order to understand General Relativity, it’s important to first grasp the Equivalence Principle. Essentially, this principle states that objects that are accelerating free of any gravitational pull are essentially no different than the same objects that are stationary but affected by gravity. This means that an object in space with no gravity has the same mass as an object on Earth that is not moving.
Albert Einstein explaining E = MC^2 to the general public. When he published his paper on the theory of general relativity in 1915, the scientific community questioned it. The Nazis called it “jewish science”…— Wadson The Geek (@wadfourrien) March 5, 2023
Einstein conducted a thought experiment that involved a laser beam and a spaceship that was moving upwards with the same acceleration rate as the Earth. He realised that the height of the laser beam would appear to be lower on the other side of the room, as the floor moved up and curved the light, causing it to bend down. However, this principle only applied in space. On Earth, the light beam would appear straight. Einstein realised that the only possibility for this difference was that the light beam must be bending under the gravitational influence.
The Impact of General Relativity
Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity was a monumental breakthrough in our understanding of gravity. It unified his theory of Special Relativity with gravity and explained the source of gravity. It revolutionised the world of physics and continues to have a profound impact on modern scientific research.
Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion and the Law of Gravity were instrumental in our understanding of the universe. However, it wasn’t until Albert Einstein and his Theory of General Relativity that the mysteries of gravity were fully explained. His insights, such as the Equivalence Principle and the bending of light, have had a lasting impact on modern scientific research. Einstein’s brilliance and ingenuity continue to inspire scientists and researchers to this day.
This video provides a brilliant visualization of two physical models of gravity: Newtonian Gravity and Einstein's General Relativity— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) March 9, 2023
[full video, eyytee: https://t.co/ROl8laCwzt]pic.twitter.com/qnlCsJgM1d