General Theory of Relativity

Illustration of spacetime curvature.
Illustration of spacetime curvature via Wikipedia

Albert Einstein‘s groundbreaking relativity theory includes two subsets—the special theory of relativity (1905) and the general theory of relativity (1916).

The general theory includes the earlier special theory of relativity but goes on to explain accelerated frames of reference. Also, it extends the special theory by proposing a general theory of gravitation.

Einstein understands gravity as arising from a curvature of space and time. The general theory presents the universe as a four-dimensional space-time continuum. So the presence of mass ‘curves’ space so as to create the effect of gravity.

The general theory of relativity has been supported by the orbital motion of the planet Mercury which, from the perspective of Newtonian theory, seems anomalous.

Perhaps even more radical, the special theory predicts that as objects move, time slows down. And the general theory predicts that gravity effects the passage of time. Both of these hypotheses have been supported by atomic clocks and GPS measurements.¹

So, quite unlike idle speculation and imaginary fantasies, Eisntein’s seemingly “weird” ideas are supported by empirical evidence. While other theories of gravitation exist, they tend to have much in common with Einstein’s.

¹  See


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