Einstein's Jury: The Race to Test Relativity

Einstein's Jury: The Race to Test Relativity

5.0 2
by Jeffrey Crelinsten
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691123101

ISBN-13: 9780691123103

Pub. Date: 05/30/2006

Publisher: Princeton University Press

"There is no shortage of literature on Einstein and relativity, yet Crelinsten succeeds in providing a novel and fruitful perspective on how Einstein's theory of general relativity was received in its early years. By focusing on the astronomers rather than the physicists, and America rather than Europe, he adds a valuable chapter to the history of modern science in

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"There is no shortage of literature on Einstein and relativity, yet Crelinsten succeeds in providing a novel and fruitful perspective on how Einstein's theory of general relativity was received in its early years. By focusing on the astronomers rather than the physicists, and America rather than Europe, he adds a valuable chapter to the history of modern science in which scientific and social aspects are treated equally and in the same compelling detail."—Helge Kragh, University of Aarhus, Denmark

"Jeffrey Crelinsten has written a wonderful book that fills an important gap in our knowledge of the reception and acceptance of general relativity in the scientific community: he focuses on the crucial role played by astronomers, particularly in the United States. In a fascinating account he describes how general relativity was tested and confirmed and how the new field of relativistic cosmology emerged out of this work. I wish this book had appeared earlier!"—A. J. Kox, University of Amsterdam

"An excellent book, with wonderful gems that arise out of the author's mastery of the literature. It will be enormously useful to Einstein scholars as well as to those interested in the history of astronomy."—Daniel Kennefick, University of Arkansas

"A fascinating and detailed story of the emergence of modern cosmology that reaches back to the debates over the validity of Einstein's theory of general relativity during the early decades of the twentieth century. This is an American tale of pragmatism and empiricism, of eclipse expeditions and of the intrepid spirit of those who built the world's largest astronomical observatories and discovered an expanding universe."—Diana Kormos Buchwald, Einstein Papers Project, Caltech

"An overwhelming accomplishment that surely will have a lasting impact on the history of the subject. So much is laid to rest about the dominance of the 'Eddington' 1919 eclipse result and its resulting PR as to be an eye-opener to many (to most) would-be-historians. [Crelinsten's] research into original sources is powerful and makes the case!"— Allan R. Sandage, Staff Astronomer Emeritus, The Observatories (Pasadena, CA) Carnegie Institution of Washington

"Since the 1960s, scientists have shown with exquisite precision that Einstein was right about relativity. But for relativity's first two decades (1910-1930), the case for Einstein was hardly a slam dunk. Jeffrey Crelinsten tells the exciting roller-coaster story of the early experimental tests of special and general relativity, from light deflection measurements to ether-drift tests. Believers debated skeptics, but in the end, the jury was swayed by the data. Crelinsten's tale reads like a scientific courtroom thriller."—Clifford Will, Washington University in St. Louis, author of Was Einstein Right?

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691123103
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
05/30/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
428
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

Pt. 11905-1911 : early encounters with relativity1
Ch. 1Einstein and the world community of physicists and astronomers3
Ch. 2Astronomers and special relativity : the first publications28
Pt. 21911-1919 : astronomers encounter Einstein45
Ch. 3The early involvement, 1911-191447
Ch. 4The war period, 1914-191885
Ch. 51919 : a year of dramatic announcement125
Ch. 6Men of science agog146
Pt. 31920-1925 : astronomers put Einstein to the test169
Ch. 7Tackling the solar redshift problem171
Ch. 8More eclipse testing183
Ch. 9Emergence of the critics213
Ch. 10The debate intensifies236
Pt. 41925-1930 : final acceptance263
Ch. 11Relativity triumphs265
Ch. 12Silencing the critics300
Epilogue : the emergence of relativistic cosmology315

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Einstein's Jury: The Race to Test Relativity 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This fluid and accessible work showcases the astronomy community's pivotal role in providing the 'proof' for Einstein's theory. This was a make or break moment in history - a true tipping point - and this book humanizes the context and provides new, intriguing insights into the political, social and scientific landscape of the times and, as importantly, sheds light on the players that had a hand in changing the way we now think of time and the universe. It was a surprisingly rivetting tale!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Given the hundreds of books about Albert Einstein, it is a wonder this story has not been told. 'Einstein's Jury' documents the physicist's twenty-five year struggle to win acceptance for relativity, a theory which most established scientists considered bizarre, metaphysical and incomprehensible. 'Einstein's Jury' is a cliff-hanger, with author Jeffrey Crelinsten calling the play by play as we follow Einstein toehold to toehold, struggling to climb the vertical wall leading to scientific acceptance. Crelinsten holds us in suspense. The scientific debate was nasty, even before the First World War split the jury further by pouring national prejudices on the flames. Acceptance was not a foregone conclusion: Einstein's jury debated for decades. To borrow a phrase from Wellington after the battle of Waterloo, the verdict was 'a damned close-run thing.' Crelinsten marshals his pro- and anti-Einstein forces brilliantly, using previously unpublished papers and letters to cover the knock-downs, slight advances, reverses and ultimate success.