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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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Beyond the Formative Years

Beyond the Formative Years

(p.155) 10 Beyond the Formative Years
The Formative Years of Relativity

Hanoch Gutfreund

Jürgen Renn

Princeton University Press

This chapter offers an outlook on the further transformations of Einstein's theory after the formative years. Following this period, the theory underwent a process of marginalization within the field of physics. Jean Eisenstaedt characterized these years as the “low-water-mark” period, lasting until the 1950s. During this period, most physicists considered general relativity as a highly formalistic theory, providing only small corrections to the Newtonian picture. Only a limited number of theoretical physicists worked on the theory while the majority focused on the development of quantum theory, which had much stronger connections with experimental activities and possible technological applications. And even those research projects concerned with general relativity during the low-water-mark period often aimed at moving beyond general relativity and in any case had few connections to empirical investigations.

Keywords:   formative years, marginalization, general relativity, quantum theory, Albert Einstein

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