Space-time’s geometry keeps planets in orbits, makes apples to fall: Einstein found 100 years ago
By the year of 1915, great scientist Albert Einstein had become somewhat irritable, thanks to his parting with his wife who had decamped to Switzerland with his sons, and Germany had triggered a disastrous world war.
One of his few friends, Janos Plesch, once said Einstein was living alone; and he used to sleep until he was awakened, stays awake until he was asked to sleep, would go hungry until he was given food and then ate until he was stopped. The comments were enough to understand the late scientist’s mental condition.
But what troubled him more was the discovery of a flaw in his new theory of gravity that was introduced with great fanfare just two years earlier. German mathematician David Hilbert was finding faults with his theories.
On November 25, 1915, Einstein created a new equation that rules the universe. The equation describes space-time as a sort of sagging mattress where matter and energy twist the geometry of the cosmos to create the effect which is called gravity.
Since the days of Isaac Newton, who discovered gravity, scientists had thought of space-time as a sort of stage on which we are just actors, and matter and energy strode and strutted. But with general relativity, the stage itself sprang into action. Scientists came to learn that space-time could curve, fold and wrap itself up around a dead star and vanish into a black hole.
Einstein quickly realized that even light beams bend downward and time slow down in a gravitational field. He found that gravity is not a force transmitted across space-time like magnetism; rather is the space-time’s geometry that keeps planets in their orbits and makes apples to fall.
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