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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 General Theory of Relativity

The General Theory of Relativity

(p.215) The General Theory of Relativity
The Formative Years of Relativity

Hanoch Gutfreund

Jürgen Renn

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows how Einstein has developed and described the mathematical apparatus that is necessary to formulate the physical contents of the general theory of gravity. It first discusses the transition from the special to the general relativity principle. According to Einstein's understanding of such a general relativity principle, physical laws are independent of the state of motion of the reference space in which they are described. The chapter argues that such a generalization of the relativity principle to include accelerated reference frames is possible because all inertial effects caused by acceleration can be alternatively attributed to the presence of a gravitational field. The model of a rotating disk is then used to show that general relativity implies non-Euclidean geometry and that the gravitational field is represented by curved spacetime. After the introduction of these basic concepts and principles, the chapter presents the mathematical formulation of the theory.

Keywords:   general theory of relativity, general theory of gravity, general relativity principle, gravity, gravitational field, rotating disk, mathematical formulation, Albert Einstein

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