Monday, December 11, 2017

Second Einstein book update

I publised a book on Einstein and relativity, and this blog has had some updates.

  • Einstein book update A 2013 outline of posts that explain aspects of relativity written after the book.

  • Einstein did not discover relativity A 2017 outline of arguments against Einstein's priority.

  • Einstein agreed with the Lorentz theory Einstein's 1905 relativity was a presentation of Lorentz's theory, as Einstein agreed with Lorentz on every major point. See also Calling the length contraction psychological, where Einstein published a 1911 paper rejecting a geometric interpretation of special relativity, and insisting that he still agreed with Lorentz's interpretation.

  • The geometrization of physics Einstein is largely idolized for geometrizing physics, but he had nothing to do with it, and even opposed it when published by others. See also Geometry was backbone of special relativity.

  • History of general relativity Link to a good historical paper summarizing the steps leading to general relativity. A couple of the steps are credited to Einstein, but the biggest steps are due to others.

  • In particular, I found much more evidence against two common claims:

  • that Einstein has a superior theoretical understanding of relativity, and

  • that Einstein's work was important for the development and acceptance of relativity.

  • In fact, Poincare, Minkowski, and Hilbert had superior geometrical interpretations, and Einstein rejected them. Special relativity became accepted very rapidly thru the work of Lorentz, Poincare, and Minkowski, and Einstein's 1905 paper had very little influence on anyone.

    Update: I should have also added that I have much more evidence against the common claim:

  • that Poincare subscribed to Lorentz's interpretation of relativity.

    While I explain in the book that this is not true, see Poincare was the new Copernicus, where I show that Poincare was presenting a view radically different from Lorentz's. See also my comment below, where I elaborate on just what Poincare meant.

    Poincare and later Minkowski explicitly claimed modern geometrical interpretations of relativity that sharply break from Lorentz, and Einstein did not.
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