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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 (Continued)

The General Theory of Relativity (Continued)

Chapter:
(p.239) The General Theory of Relativity (Continued)
Source:
The Formative Years of Relativity
Author(s):

Hanoch Gutfreund

Jürgen Renn

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691174631.003.0017

This chapter shows that in the limit of weak fields and low velocities, the equation of the geodesic line reduces to Newton's equation of motion. It proceeds to derive the gravitational field equation. Next, the chapter uses the gravitational field equation to derive the three effects that served as the first tests of the theory: the bending of light by the gravitational field of the sun, the shift to the red of spectral lines emitted by atoms in a gravitational field (gravitational redshift), and the motion of the perihelion of planet Mercury. After a short remark about expressing Maxwell's equations of the electromagnetic field, the chapter turns to the “so-called cosmological problem.” Its main theme is the defense of Mach's principle, which states that all inertial phenomena, namely the fictitious forces arising in accelerated reference frames, are caused by all the masses in the universe.

Keywords:   general theory of relativity, geodesic line, gravitational field equation, sun, gravitational redshift, Mercury, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic field, Mach's principle

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