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The Formative Years of RelativityThe History and Meaning of Einstein's Princeton Lectures$
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Jürgen Renn and Hanoch Gutfreund

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174631

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174631.001.0001

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(p.3) 1 Introduction
The Formative Years of Relativity

Hanoch Gutfreund

Jürgen Renn

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides a brief background into the development of Albert Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. As a characteristic stage in the development of the theory, the chapter focuses on the formative years which have, remarkably, received less attention from historians than subsequent periods. It argues that a “renaissance” of general relativity had begun essentially as the result of a community-building effort turning the theory into a universally applicable framework. This revival was followed by what has been called the “golden age” of relativity, which witnessed new conceptual insights, such as those into the nature of spacetime singularities, and turned the theory into the foundation of modern astrophysics and observational cosmology.

Keywords:   Albert Einstein, relativity, formative years, The Meaning of Relativity, theory of relativity, general relativity, astrophysics, observational cosmology

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