The assumption that all the measurements made on the universe at specific places and time intervals will be similar stood for a long time before the theory of relativity was introduced. Relativity therefore means that measurements will be dependent on the relative motions of the person making the observations as well as the objects observed. The theory of relativity was proposed by an ancient scientist by the name Albert Einstein. Just like other innovative scientists, Einstein faced opposition from fellow scientists and people regarding his development but fought through to prove the theory (Bergmann 265). This paper is therefore an analysis of the Einstein’s theory of relativity majoring on its development, uses and importance in the scientific world.
History of the Theory of Relativity
Being one of the most significant scientific advances, the theory of relativity was developed by a physicist by the name Albert Einstein in the early twentieth century between 1879 and 1955 (Bergmann 241). Despite the fact that Einstein was not the initial introducer of the concept, he had major contributions on the theory that make him associated with it. Among the major contributions was the discernment that the speed of light travelling in a vacuum was constant and has an absolute boundary for motion. Einstein was also the innovator of the equation on the equivalence of mass and energy. This theory of relativity was applied to gravitational fields where Einstein established the “curved space-time continuum”. This shows that the dimensions of space as well as time are two-dimensional making it possible for objects to create valleys and dips on the surface. All the aforementioned work made Einstein to receive the Nobel Prize in the year 1921.
The theory of Relativity
This theory is dichotomized into two divisions; the special theory of relativity and the general theory of relativity. The first division of special theory entails asking a question as to whether motion and rest are either relative or absolute. After thorough research Einstein concluded that they were relative. The general theory of relativity is applied to accelerating particles or objects in relation to gravitational force. It therefore states that objects or particles will continue to move in a straight line in the space-time, however, the motion is perceived to be acceleration due to the cured nature of space-time.
Both theories of relativity have been proved to be accurate at a very high accuracy degree in the past years. A common confirmation concerns the solar eclipse of the year 1919 which bore the testimony that the star light is deflected by the sun when light passes near the sun as it comes to the earth. This solar eclipse gave astronomers the initiative to analyze the light of the star near the sun. After the occurrence of this phenomenon, the general theory of relativity proved itself to be very accurate (Scott 1). This was in fact among the best confirmed physics principles. The general theory of relativity clearly depicts that time is linked to matter and space with the dimensions of time, space and matter making up what is called a continuum (Scott 1).
In addition, according to Einstein, the theory of relativity is classified in a class of “principle-theories”. This is t mean that it encompasses analytic methods such that the elements which are included in this theory are based on empirical discovery and not hypothetical values. The advantage of empirical discovery is that it makes it possible to understand the general features of natural processes. All in all is the fact that both the general theory of relativity and the special theory of relativity are correlated. As stated previously, the special theory of relativity is applicable to all the phenomena of physical nature other than gravity while the general theory of relativity explains about the law of gravity and its interaction with the other natural forces.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the development of the theory of relativity was a big success in the scientific world of physicists. The theory of relativity by Einstein has had many applications in the ancient and modern world. Some of the phenomena that can be explained by the general theory of relativity include the following;
- It explains why the clock will run slower in areas of low forces of gravity as compared to those of higher gravitational potential. This condition is referred to as the gravitational time dilation.
- It is also behind the reason as to why rays of light will bend when in the presence of a gravitational field.
- This theory again explains why the universe expands with the farthest parts moving at a speed faster than that of light.
Just like the general theory of relativity, the special theory of relativity explains why moving clocks are depicted to tick at a rate slower than that of stationary clocks. It also explains the equation of mass-energy equivalence, that is E=MC2. (Zimmerman 1).
Nevertheless, Einstein’s theory of relativity has found its way in the modern world technology where it is being applied in nuclear energy, communication, charged particle accelerators just to mention but a few. This shows that both the general theory of relativity and the special theory of relativity play important role in technology thus of great help to the physicists.
Bergmann, Peter. Introduction to the Theory of Relativity. 1976, Dover Publications. Scott, Fischer. Theory of Relativity. 2002.
Zimmerman, Andrew. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. 2011.