Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dutch reception of relativity

A new Dutch paper on The reception of relativity in the Netherlands says:
This article reviews the early academic and public reception of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity in the Netherlands, particularly after Arthur Eddington's eclipse experiments of 1919. Initially, not much attention was given to relativity, as it did not seem an improvement over Hendrik A. Lorentz' work.
Hardly anyone anywhere saw Einstein's 1905 relativity theory as a significant improvement over Lorentz's previous relativity theory. The theories had the same assumptions, formulas, and consequences.

Excitement about (special) relativity spread dramatically in 1908 with publication of the Poincare-Minkowski non-Euclidean geometry theory of relativity. Then the Lorentz-Einstein view became obsolete. In just a couple of more years, relativity textbooks were being written based on the geometry view.

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