Einstein's Jury: The Race to Test Relativity

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Princeton University Press, 2006 - Science - 397 pages
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"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."--Helge Kragh, University of Aarhus, Denmark

"Jeffrey Crelinsten has written a wonderful book that fills an important gap in our knowledge of the reception and acceptance of general relativity in the scientific community: he focuses on the crucial role played by astronomers, particularly in the United States. 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!"--A. J. 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."--Daniel Kennefick, University of Arkansas

"A fascinating and detailed story of the emergence of modern cosmology that reaches back to the debates over the validity of Einstein's theory of general relativity during the early decades of the twentieth century. 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."--Diana Kormos Buchwald, Einstein Papers Project, Caltech

"An overwhelming accomplishment that surely will have a lasting impact on the history of the subject. So much is laid to rest about the dominance of the 'Eddington' 1919 eclipse result and its resulting PR as to be an eye-opener to many (to most) would-be-historians. [Crelinsten's] research into original sources is powerful and makes the case!"-- Allan R. Sandage, Staff Astronomer Emeritus, The Observatories (Pasadena, CA) Carnegie Institution of Washington

"Since the 1960s, scientists have shown with exquisite precision that Einstein was right about relativity. But for relativity's first two decades (1910-1930), 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. Crelinsten's tale reads like a scientific courtroom thriller."--Clifford Will, Washington University in St. Louis, author of "Was Einstein Right?"

 

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Contents

EINSTEIN AND THE WORLD COMMUNITY OF PHYSICISTS AND ASTRONOMERS
3
THE ASTRONOMY COMMUNITY
7
THE ASTROPHYSICS REVOLUTION
9
EUROPEAN BRAINS AND AMERICAN MONEY
20
THE NATIONS LEADER
25
ASTRONOMERS AND SPECIAL RELATIVITY THE FIRST PUBLICATIONS
28
RELATIVITY AND THE ETHER
31
RELATIVITY AND SUBJECTIVISM
36
EINSTEINS THIRD VICTORY
173
UNRAVELING COMPLEXITIESEVERSHED VERSUS ST JOHN
175
EVERSHED VOTES FOR EINSTEIN
179
MORE ECLIPSE TESTING
183
CONFLICTING ANNOUNCEMENTS ON THE GOLDENDALE RESULTS
185
PREPARATIONS FOR THE AUSTRALIAN ECLIPSE
194
ALL EYES ON LICK
200
EMERGENCE OF THE CRITICS
213

USING RELATIVITY TO CALCULATE PLANETARY ORBITS
38
AMERICAN ASTRONOMERS INTRODUCTION TO RELATIVITY
40
19111919 ASTRONOMERS ENCOUNTER EINSTEIN
45
THE EARLY INVOLVEMENT 19111914
47
SOLAR ECLIPSES VULCAN AND THE PRINCIPLE OF RELATIVITY
50
EINSTEIN FINDS AN ASTRONOMER
55
PUZZLES IN THE SUNS SPECTRUM
65
THE RUSSIAN ECLIPSE OF 1914
76
THE WAR PERIOD 19141918
85
EINSTEINS BREAKTHROUGH
87
THE FREUNDLICH AFFAIR
90
NEWS OF EINSTEINS BREAKTHROUGH SPREADS
94
MIXED REACTIONS TO A COMPLICATED THEORY
98
CONSTRUCTING THE UNIVERSE
103
CHALLENGES FROM SOLAR OBSERVATIONS
108
LICK ASTRONOMERS Go ECLIPSE HUNTING
114
EINSTEIN LIBERATES FREUNDLICH
119
1919 A YEAR OF DRAMATIC ANNOUNCEMENT
125
DELAYS AND TECHNICAL CHALLENGES AT LICK
126
THE LICK VERDICT EINSTEIN IS WRONG
131
THE BRITISH DECLARE EINSTEIN IS RIGHT
140
MEN OF SCIENCE AGOG
146
PRESSURE FROM THE PRESS
153
THE ROLE OF ARTHUR EDDINGTON
157
EINSTEIN THE NATIONAL TREASURE
160
HALE REALIZES His VISION
165
19201925 ASTRONOMERS PUT EINSTEIN TO THE TEST
169
TACKLING THE SOLAR REDSHIFT PROBLEM
171
TJJ SEE VERSUS THE LICK OBSERVATORY
216
AN ANTIRELATIVITY COALITION IN THE EAST
225
THE ETHER ATTEMPTS A COMEBACK
231
THE DEBATE INTENSIFIES
236
MOUNT WILSON AND LICK VOTE FOR EINSTEIN
241
THE ANTIRELATIVITY CAMPAIGN GAINS MOMENTUM
243
CONFRONTATION
252
A NEW LINE OF EVIDENCE TO TEST EINSTEIN
257
19251930 FINAL ACCEPTANCE
263
RELATIVITY TRIUMPHS
265
THE RELATIVITY DEBATE CIRCA 1925
269
ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE ETHER
273
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE SIRIUS B RESULTS
277
JOHN A MILLER AND THE ECLIPSE TESTS
282
DAYTON C MILLER AND THE ETHER DRIFT
287
THREE MORE PRONOUNCEMENTS
290
RELUCTANT ACCEPTANCE
296
SILENCING THE CRITICS
300
ANTIRELATIVISTS RALLY IN THE EAST
307
THE FINAL SHOWDOWN
310
THE EMERGENCE OF RELATIVISTIC COSMOLOGY
315
FINAL REFLECTIONS
321
ASTRONOMERS RECEPTION OF RELATIVITY
323
RELATIVITY AND US
324
NOTES
327
BIBLIOGRAPHY
365
INDEX
385
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About the author (2006)

Jeffrey Crelinsten is an award-winning science writer and historian and president of The Impact Group, a private communications and research firm specializing in science and technology policy, communications, and education. He has written radio and film documentaries on Einstein and his theory of relativity for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), National Public Radio, and the National Film Board of Canada. His two-hour radio biography of Einstein, prepared for Einstein's 1979 centenary, was re-broadcast by the CBC in June, 2005. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

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