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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 Quest for a Unified Field Theory

The Quest for a Unified Field Theory

(p.122) 8 The Quest for a Unified Field Theory
The Formative Years of Relativity

Hanoch Gutfreund

Jürgen Renn

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses the question of why general relativity was perceived to be an incomplete theory by many contemporary scientists, including Einstein himself. In the formative years, general relativity was often seen as a partial or incomplete theory to be generalized, encompassed, or superseded by an overarching unifying theory that would also explain the constitution of matter, typically by including gravity and electromagnetism. This chapter also discusses Einstein's essay, entitled “Generalization of Gravitation Theory,” which he added to the third edition of The Meaning of Relativity. This essay reflects Einstein's struggle in his search for a unified field theory, which in the last ten years of his life was based on the notion of a non-symmetric metric.

Keywords:   general relativity, formative years, unified field theory, unifying theory, constitution of matter, Generalization of Gravitation theory, non-symmetric metric, Albert Einstein

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