The Greatest? Einstein's General Relativity

By cjohnson | January 9, 2006 1:44 am

See here for the voting procedure, and background.

A. Einstein, Die Grundlage der allgemeinen Relativitaetstheorie, Annalen der Physik 49 (1916), 769-822.

This is Einstein’s 1916 General Relativity paper. A strong contender from the man who had the whole year to himself in 2005. (I did a post about some of this work’s development here.)

Make one comment, which will be your vote. (Any other comments from you on this thread will be deleted.) Feel free to tell the world what this paper means to you…. and why you voted for it over the others….. Or you can just make a comment that registers your vote, making whatever noise you want!

Voting ends 9:00pm, Jan 16th Pacific Standard Time.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Entertainment, Science
  • Loganayagam

    One vote for this paper ! Since experimental papers are out, Let me confine myself to theoretical physics only. Among all other papers, none of them were so much ahead of their times as this one. It was one of the most valiant shoots at dark without much guidance from the experimental side which nevertheless turned out to be right – the best that theoretical physics can offer !

    String theory would definitely overtake this IF it turns out to be right in every detail as GR has turned out to be. But, atleast until somebody does to string hypothesis what Einstein’s Brownian motion paper did to the the atomic hypothesis hundred years ago, I reserve my judgement.

    Of course, looking back from now, sometimes I think there was not much of a choice given special relaivity and equivalence principle….

  • LambchopofGod

    With GR, Einstein not only described how gravity *behaves* — a routine achievement of the kind associated with ordinary geniuses like Newton and Maxwell — he also told us *what gravity is*. And that is something that no other genius has managed before or since! The “force” of gravity, in a very real sense, *does not exist*. Woo-hoo!!

  • Wolfgang

    Albert discovers GR in the middle of the first world war.

  • FP

    Are so many readers voting for Newton’s Principia because this is the type of physics they like and understand?

  • indrax

    Poor Einstein!

    This is seriously underrated.

  • manitou

    GR is one of the building blocks of modern science!

    How come it’s so low down?

  • spinclad

    While arguably less revolutionary for physics than QM, GR does the rare job of eliminating its subject matter in the course of explaining it. I might say that Newton only completed Kepler’s elimination of the planetary angels (and I would be quite unfair in so saying), but Einstein completed his own program starting with SR.

    I could have gone for Newton, Dirac, Heisenberg, Noether, or Darwin if I weren’t seeing Einstein trailing so unfairly. But then the polls have closed, haven’t they?

  • Philip

    My vote’s for AE and GR.

  • sevenbrane

    For the most beautiful theory!

  • spyder

    If GR was so “obvious” (‘a routine achievement of the kind associated with ordinary geniuses like Newton and Maxwell’) then Newton could have got it, but without this paper: i can’t even imagine.

  • Deborah Goldsmith

    One vote for this paper, for making space and time a dynamical entity instead of a fixed background.

  • Cygnus

    Only 11 votes so far? This is one of the few papers which you learn something new from every time you read it. Whenever you feel you’ve understood GR, there are still weirder aspects of it which turn yet more common-sensical notions. Strange that this one got just a dozen votes so far.

  • Paul Valletta

    Actually, the vote finished:

    But, htere are interesting things to learn from the original thread and vote, I learned a number of things, the most important being the fact that I had not ever heard of E Noether? this could have escaped me I dont know!

    As a side note Einstein recieved the votes 11 + 7

    Two Prime numbers to come out of the random voting?

  • Paul Valletta

    Oops! I should have mentioned that Newton recieved 25 votes, quite apt that this number is the Maximum number of primes in any block of 100 continuous numbers’ and is 1/4 of 100.

    The total number of votes taken were 75.

    25% and 75%

    Quite logical really!

  • Clifford

    Paul Valletta:- Thanks for those observations…. in particular, I had not noticed that we got exactly 100 votes..I usually notice number patterns like that…. I must have still been a bit ill…..

    I did not know that fact about primes. Is it a theorem of somebody I should be naming?



  • Paul Valletta

    Clifford, I may have expressed the facts to loose, the actual votes were in total:

    out of the 75 votes, Newton had 25.

    25 is the exceptional number factor, it happens to have its basis in the distribution of Entropy Factorization, its an “equilibrium” of systems operation factor?..this is something that I have been playing around with in number theory, pure speculation I’m afraid.

    What I am really interested is the fact that, there was no time limit imposed on the vote’s (as far as I can see) , so when you called “time” and counted up the votes, the end result seemed to have certain factors that made the overall voting patterns appear, pretty concise and neat.

    There are factors of constraint (choice of papers) but the voters, who all appear to expressed their “freewill” of choosing papers.

    Now, if you had stated before hand that there was going to be a “time” or say a specific number of votes, “100”, then this would have, obviously, produced a different result WRT to “stastistics” ?

    The winner, 1st, 2nd,3rd, 4th and 5th could have, and most likely remained the same positions, but the “after-vote” stastistical results, by the introduction of the extra constraints, would be more “false” than “true”?

    This is why I stated that the thread was “perfect”, and the result was “just”!

    In the spirit of fairness, I would state that, although it might be “unfair” to those whose papers were not included, from the stastistic facts that evolved after the vote, the freewill expressed by those casting a vote, was, as far as number theory goes, precise and true.

    I have, I hope? just placed a hint of debate, into how one should analyze a choice, in or vote “natural-selections” processes.

    It’s about freewill and choice! relays something about the “human” spirit, and thus the voter, votee? interaction.

    If another forum was given the same choice of papers, and the vote closed when 100 votes were cast (which the voters were made aware of before hand), although some would contend that the greater majority of voters,100 would be stastistically more accurate, I do not conclude this.

    There are other considerations at work!

  • Clifford

    Paul: – No…I did not read your message correctly, and also did not do the mathematics myself. Your first message was clear, I’ve just been rather busy today and have twice misread people’s comments due to haste. My mistake.


  • Pingback: The Greatest Physics Paper! The Result | Cosmic Variance()


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

See More

Collapse bottom bar