Book – Was Einstein Right?


Putting General Relativity
to the Test
by Clifford M. Will
1993

Will is that rarest of creatures – a physics professor who can communicate compellingly. He takes us on a journey through the attempts to verify/disprove/modify Einstein’s theory over the last century.
In addition, the greater historical perspective of Newton’s laws is referred to often. This provides not only a sweeping view of the evolution of gravitational theory, but also of the nature and power of science in general.

Although not a biography of Einstein, this book indeed captures the essence of that unique life and genius. The experiments and observations involving relativity provide for a fascinating ride. Bending of astronomical light, the orbit of Mercury, frame dragging, and gravitational waves are explored in depth. The astonishing technological advances made during the 1960s are a focus.

Will’s conclusion is that not only is Einstein’s theory ‘right’ (so far) (an obligatory caveat to any scientific theory), but also how amazing it is that a theory conceived purely in abstract thought withstands such relentless experimental testing.

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