Einstein's Roadmap to General Relativity

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Professor Hanoch Gutfreund, Center for Brain Sciences, HUJI
18/03/2013 - 10:30
Room 301, Physics Bld. 202


After completing his Special Theory of Relativity, Einstein felt a compelling need to generalize the principle of relativity from inertial to accelerated motion and to include gravitation in the process. He struggled with this task for eight years. At an early stage he was fascinated by the idea that acceleration is equivalent to gravitation, which led him to differential geometry as the basic tool for formulating the new theory. What followed was a series of misinterpretations, wrong paths and simple errors until the "happy end" in November 1915. In 1916, Einstein wrote to Lorentz: "The series of my papers on gravitation is a chain of erroneous paths, which nevertheless gradually brought me closer to my goal."

The lecture will describe this intellectual scientific odyssey.