The Rise and Fall of Absolute Space

  • Wolfgang Rindler


Originally, relativity in physics meant the abolition of absolute space. More particularly, it has come to mean either of Einstein’s famous two theories, special relativity (SR) and general relativity (GR). SR abolished absolute space in its Maxwellian role as the carrier of light waves and of electromagnetic fields in general, while GR abolished absolute space also in its Newtonian role as the standard of nonacceleration. Since these ideas are fundamental, we shall devote the first chapter to a brief discussion centered on the three questions: What is absolute space? Why should it be abolished? And how can it be abolished?


Inertial Frame Equivalence Principle Rigid Frame Relativity Principle Absolute Space 
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  1. Mon. Nat. Roy. Astr. Soc. 113, 34 (1953); see also D. W. Sciama, “The Unity of the Universe,” New York, Doubleday and Co., Inc., 1959, especially Chaps. 7–9.Google Scholar
  2. This problem was investigated, on the basis of GR, by H. Thirring in Phys. Zeits. 19, 33 (1918), 22, 29 (1921); and that of (b) above, by H. Thirring and J. Lense in Phys. Zeits. 19, 156 (1918).Google Scholar
  3. An apparently similar but, in fact, quite different problem was discussed, on the basis of GR, by L. I. Schiff in Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 25, 391 (1939).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Rindler
    • 1
  1. 1.Southwest Center for Advanced StudiesDallasUSA

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