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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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The Controversy over Gravitational Waves

The Controversy over Gravitational Waves

(p.94) 6 The Controversy over Gravitational Waves
The Formative Years of Relativity

Hanoch Gutfreund

Jürgen Renn

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses one of the key themes of modern general relativity: gravitational waves. In 1916, Einstein performed the first relevant calculations, including a first derivation of the celebrated quadrupole formula, which contained a mistake that he corrected in 1918. The corrected formula became the basis for the long-term search and the first observational verification of these waves. These calculations provoked a discussion about the reality of these waves, which continued well into the 1950s and beyond. What is worth emphasizing is how Einstein's predominant interest in this phenomenon, which developed immediately after the completion of his general theory, had faded away completely by the time he delivered the Princeton lectures.

Keywords:   gravitational waves, quadrupole formula, modern general relativity, gravitational field, gravitation, Albert Einstein

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