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Galileo UnboundA Path Across Life, the Universe and Everything$
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David D. Nolte

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805847

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805847.001.0001

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The Lens of Gravity

The Lens of Gravity

(p.145) Chapter 7 The Lens of Gravity
Galileo Unbound

David D. Nolte

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how gravity provided the backdrop for one of the most important paradigm shifts in the history of physics. Prior to Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, trajectories were paths described by geometry. After the theory of general relativity, trajectories are paths caused by geometry. This chapter explains how Einstein arrived at his theory of gravity, relying on the space-time geometry of Hermann Minkowski, whose work he had originally harshly criticized. The confirmation of Einstein’s theory was one of the dramatic high points in twentieth-century history of physics when Arthur Eddington journeyed to an island off the coast of Africa to observe stellar deflections during a solar eclipse. If Galileo was the first rock star of physics, then Einstein was the first worldwide rock star of science.

Keywords:   free fall, gravity, Geodesic, special relativity, general relativity, Minkowski, Einstein, equivalence principle, solar eclipse, Eddington

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