The Formative Phase of the GRG Community

  • Roberto LalliEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Science and Technology book series (BRIEFSHIST)


This chapter analyzes the first decade of the process of building the community of “relativists” from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. This period can be seen as the formative phase of the emerging community, during which the initial steps were taken to institutionally unify the different research agendas under the heading of “General Relativity and Gravitation.” These included the organization of the first international conference on general relativity held in Bern in 1955, the establishment of the International Committee on General Relativity in Gravitation in 1959, and the decision to publish the Bulletin on General Relativity and Gravitation from 1962 onward. It is argued that some of the initial impetus to build the international community was related to idealistic views about the role of science in achieving peaceful relations between nations. By the end of the formative phase, however, many tensions of both a political and epistemic nature came to dominate the discussions about the future of the committee as it had to face sudden changes in the social composition of the community as well as in the redefinition of the field after the discovery of quasars in 1963 and the emergence of relativistic astrophysics.


Albert Einstein André Mercier Bulletin on General Relativity and Gravitation Cold War Community building International Committee on General Relativity and Gravitation International Conferences on General Relativity and Gravitation International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Relativistic astrophysics Renaissance of general relativity 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany

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