This is how Einstein’s theory of relativity has changed our way of understanding the Universe and locating ourselves in the world

Just yesterday we celebrated the publication of one of the most influential books in the history of science: “The Origin of Species”, by Charles Darwin in 1859, and today is the date of another landmark publication: the theory of relativity.

On November 25, 1915 Albert Einstein published in the magazine of the Prussian Academy of Sciences Berlin His article Explanation of the perihelion movement of Mercury of the general theory of relativity.

This was the text written about the conference of the same title Explication of the perihelion movement of Mercury from the theory of relativity, which Einstein had given a week earlier at that academy, in which he presented a part of his theory of relativity.

In addition, that same November 25, he sent another article in which he presented the field equations of gravitation, which are the central part in the development of your Theory of General Relativity.

A very special theory

But the history of the theory of general relativity by Albert Einstein, is even before that very productive November 25. A decade earlier he had already started working on something he called special relativity.

From 1905 Einstein began to raise the ideas that modified the way we understood the behavior of many things in the Universe. For instance, added another dimension: time.

And relativity also explains that the perception of the dimensions of the Universe change depending on how fast we are moving.

Which implies that if we move faster or slower, time does not pass the same for us, as for someone who is not moving. Something that before relativity would have seemed science fiction, but after it is only science.

And with these mathematical models that he raised, Einstein also found that the Universe, like roads, has a speed limit, however this is one that cannot be broken: nothing can go faster than light, whose speed of 300,000 km / s, is a universal physical constant, and it is also an insurmountable one.

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All these ideas were already very different from those proposed by the classical mechanics of Newton’s laws, but general relativity showed a completely different Universe from the Newtonian one.

If for Newton gravity is a force that exists between objects due to their mass, pFor Einstein, gravity is the result of mass, but in reality it is because matter has an influence on space-time: the fabric that forms the Universe.

General relativity states that if an object has enough mass, it causes space and time to curve around it, modifying its environment: something similar to what happens on a flexible surface, such as a stretched cloth, we drop a heavy ball: the fabric yields to the weight of the ball and curves.

Undoubtedly these ideas were revolutionary for physicists, but they even influence and continue to influence our lives.

For instance, Global positioning systems, which give us locations on Earth, from satellite observation, must consider relativity.

Both the speed of the satellites and the gravitational field of the Earth, cause alterations that could seem minimal, but if they are not corrected, they would accumulate and cause many position lags that would make these systems practically useless.

So the next time you use your cell phone to find the best way to get somewhere, remember to thank Einstein as well.

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