General Relativity

Albert Einstein finished his general theory of relativity in November 1915 and its influence has been profound, dramatically influencing the direction of physics, cosmology, and mathematics. His field equations of gravitation explained how matter curves spacetime, how this curvature tells matter how to move, and it gave scientists the mathematical tools to understand how space would evolve in time, leading to a deeper understanding of the universe’s early conditions and development.

The Institute sometimes spends money on risky ventures, giving sustained support to people who work on unfashionable and dubious projects. One example of a risky venture was Einstein, who worked here for twenty years on unified field theories...

Black holes are among the strangest predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity: regions of spacetime in which gravity is so strong that nothing—not even light—can escape. More precisely, a black hole is a singularity in spacetime...

Albert Einstein finished his general theory of relativity in November 1915, and in the hundred years since, its influence has been profound, dramatically influencing the direction of physics, cosmology, and mathematics. The theory upended Isaac...

Christmas Day, 1942, was the three hundredth birthday of Isaac Newton. I was then an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge. Since Newton was our most famous fellow, the college organized a meeting to celebrate his birthday. Since it was war...

Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, a pillar of modern physics formulated 100 years ago, was celebrated by the Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University in a two-day conference, General Relativity at 100. The conference,...

Robbert Dijkgraaf presents an overview of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, one of the great pillars of modern physics, and its enduring influence.

Dr. Robert J. Oppenheimer
Director of Above

Dear Sir,

First, please let me apologize for my manner of speaking when we discussed quantum theory recently. This manner is unjustifiably aggressive.

Addressing an international audience in 2004, Professor Dong Guangbi, an erudite historian of science, summarized Chinese physics development over the previous century, and he argued that the country from which Chinese physicists and physics...

What do the motion of the planets in our solar system, the energy levels of the hydrogen atom, and the interactions between subatomic particles have in common? Surprisingly, they are all governed by the same hidden symmetry principles. This is...

Light is the great unifier. John Wheeler, the beloved Princeton physicist, used to draw the universe as a big capital U with a little eye on one leg, signifying that we, human beings, are the eyes of the universe looking back at itself. The...

“Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun,” read the New York Times headline last March 17. In a seemingly momentous news conference at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, researchers using a BICEP (Background Imaging of...

There is an interesting connection between two of the best-studied nonlinear partial differential equations in physics: the equations of hydrodynamics and the field equations of gravity.

Let’s start with a brief review of hydrodynamics. At...