Two Classical Tests of Relativity Essay by FallDog

Two Classical Tests of Relativity
A brief look at the acceptance of the evidence that led to Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.
# 49107 | 1,758 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2004 | GB
Published on Feb 24, 2004 in Physics (Relativity)

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This paper explores how the problem of the anomalous advance of the perihelion of mercury and the bending of light near massive bodies led to one of the most famous theories ever. It discusses the historical context of the two problems and how Einstein's theory was accepted on the strength of the two pieces of evidence. It also looks at how Einstein, when he published his general theory of relativity in 1916, was essentially following the latter method of explaining Mercury's orbit and how Newton's inverse square law of gravity was eliminated. Instead, Einstein introduced a gravitational field equation in which energy, as well as mass, could lead to gravitational effects.

From the Paper:

"Kepler's first law of planetary motion states that all planets have an elliptical orbit of the Sun. When orbits are set up as a two body problem involving just the Sun and the planet, the orbit forms a closed ellipse. However, when the influence of the other planets in the solar system is taken into account the ellipse does not form a closed loop. Instead, the perihelion, (point of closest approach to the Sun) recesses around the Sun giving rise to a rosette shaped orbit (see fig 1). This is known as an advance of the perihelion."

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