Thoughts About a Conceptual Framework for Relativistic Gravity
Mine is one of several talks at this meeting that consider the revival of relativity and its integration into the mainstream of physics beginning in the 1950s. Ted Newman has described the physics problems that created confusion during the slow period 1930–1950, and how eventually a new generation of young physicists pulled the theory out of its mire. Silvio Bergia has emphasized the changes of thinking that were required, and the importance of the physical insight and especially the geometrical perspective that John Wheeler, among others, brought to the subject. I want to focus on the gulf that opened up during the slow period between relativists and the rest of what I will call mainstream theoretical physics. This gulf is important not just because of the negative influence it exerted on the development of relativity. It also has much to teach us about what physicists expect from a theory of physics, and especially about the role of heuristic concepts in physicists’ communication with one another.
KeywordsBlack Hole Gravitational Wave Gravitational Collapse Gravitational Physic Relativistic Gravity
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- DeWitt, C’ecile M., and Rickles, Dean (eds.), The Role of Gravitation in Physics: Report from the 1957 Chapel Hill Conference, Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge (Sources 5) (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany, 2011).Google Scholar
- Eisenstaedt, Jean (1989), “The low water mark of general relativity, 1925–1955”, in Einstein and the History of General Relativity, eds. Howard, Don; and Stachel, John; Birkh‥auser, Boston, 277–292.Google Scholar
- ——. (2006), The Curious History of Relativity: How Einstein’s Theory of Gravity Was Lost and Found Again, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
- Feynman, Richard P. (1988), What Do You Care What Other People Think? W.W. Norton, New York.Google Scholar
- Infeld, Leopold (1964), Relativistic Theories of Gravitation, Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
- Robinson, Ivor; Schild, Alfred; and Sch‥ucking, Engelbert L. (1965), Quasi-stellar Sources and Gravitational Collapse, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
- Schutz, Bernard F. (2009), A First Course in General Relativity (2nd ed.) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
- Thorne, Kip S. (1994), Black Holes and Time Warps, W.W. Norton, New York.Google Scholar