Our notions of time and space still stand strong as Einstein’s most famous theory is celebrated after a century. This month marks the 100 year milestone for the theory of general relativity, which was celebrated in Princeton last week, grace to the Institute for Advanced Study and the Princeton University. The sponsor of the conference was Eric Schmidt, executive chairman at Alphabet Inc. and his wife. The reason why the celebrations were held at Princeton is because Albert Einstein himself was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1933 until 1955. The current director of IAS, Robbert Dijkgraaf has declared the theory of relativity the biggest achievement in terms of intellectuality over the last centuries.
Einstein wrote his famous work sometime in late 1915 in Berlin. The theory gave revolutionary explanations about how the universe functions, but also made some some predictions, as is the case for black holes or gravitational waves. Grace to Einstein’s theory we have nowadays GPS systems on our smartphones and in our cars. However, some other predictions of the genius could not be proven by science up to this moment, like the existence of wormholes or traveling back in time.
The theory developed older ideas that can be found in the work of Isaac Newton. In his own work, Einstein managed to explain how gravity works through the force of attraction and also confirmed the gravitational force as an universal one. The problem with Newton’s theory was that he supposed that gravitational effects could instantly move through space, fact that was debunked by Einstein in another previous theory. Einstein demonstrated that it was impossible for a signal to travel through space to have a higher speed than the one of light, and thus it would take some time for the effects of gravity to travel through space.
There have been several attempts to modify Einstein’s theory, for reasons such as the lack of relation between it and the theory of quantum mechanics, another formidable theory which appeared in the 20th century. Despite this fact, Einstein’s most famous theory is celebrated after a century, keeping its place on the podium of greatness. We can only hope to witness something as great as the discoveries of the 20th century, considered my many the grandest in terms of technological evolution.
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