A tale of international competition and intrigue, Einstein's Jury brims with detail gleaned from Crelinsten's far-reaching inquiry into the history and development of relativity.
Crelinsten concludes that the well-known British eclipse expedition of that made Einstein famous had less to do with the scientific acceptance of his theory than with his burgeoning public fame. It was not until the s, when the center of gravity of astronomy and physics shifted from Europe to America, that the work of prestigious American observatories legitimized Einstein's work. As Crelinsten so expertly shows, the glow that now surrounds the famous scientist had its beginnings in these early debates among professional scientists working in the glare of the public spotlight.
Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Back cover copy "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.
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!
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. 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.
So much is laid to rest about the dominance of the 'Eddington' eclipse result and its resulting PR as to be an eye-opener to many to most would-be-historians. But for relativity's first two decades , 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.
History: Einstein was no lone genius
Crelinsten's tale reads like a scientific courtroom thriller. Louis, author of Was Einstein Right? Miller and the Eclipse Tests Dayton C. Review quote "In this impressively detailed yet readable scholarly work, Jeffrey Crelinsten examines the history of early attempts by astronomers to put Einstein's theory to the test John of Mount Wilson stepped forward in support of the theory.
For more cautious and critical researchers, however, the results were no more decisive than those of The director of the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh, Heber Doust Curtis, for example, was forced to concede the existence of a deflection larger than that predicted by Newtonian theory, but he still balked at accepting Einstein's theory.
He held out hope that Newtonian mechanics would eventually explain both evidence from the Lick and the perihelion of Mercury.
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The perihelion of a planet's orbit—that is, the point at which the planet passes closest to the Sun—shifts slowly over time. It had earlier been shown that Newtonian mechanics alone could not easily explain the movement of the perihelion of Mercury. Einstein's theory, however, could account for it. Curtis was not alone in his opposition. Crelinsten delineates the ways in which postwar, anti-European sentiment played into the debate, as some scientists were critical of Einstein personally, as well as his theory.
Einstein's Jury: The Race to Test Relativity
See, astronomer at the Mare Island Navy Yard, would make use of the vicious propaganda promoted in Germany by a group of anti-Semitic scientists who accused Einstein of plagiarism. Charles Lane Poor, professor of celestial mechanics at Columbia University, referred to Einstein as "the bolshevist of science" and called his theory "the most dangerous doctrine of modern times. Crelinsten's story shifts in the fourth section, which deals with the "final acceptance" of Einstein's theory in the second half of the s. He notes that one of the effects of strident antirelativist attacks was to shift the positions of the directors of the leading observatories in the western U.
They ended up supporting the theory. The book's symmetry of description—strong when discussing Old and New World astronomers—wavers somewhat in this section. No similar equality functions between leading U.
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