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General Theory Of Relativity


Image of Albert Einstein

We just spent a good amount of time learning Einstein's theory of special relativity,which he developed in 1905.This and other publications of that year put him on the map as a force to be reckoned with.A decade later in 1916,he published his general theory of relativity,which describes the geometry of space itself,and revolutionized the way we think of the gravitational force.Well in this article we shall look onto the general theory of relativity in detail.

An adequate description of general relativity requires extremely complicated math.So we won't even try to touch it from that approach.But we can still briefly describe some of the conceptual implications of the theory that will dramatically change your perception of the universe,so let's see what Einstein had to say.


General Theory Of Relativity:


For centuries we thought the universe obeyed Euclidian Geometry(Kind of high school geometry class eg: Parallel Lines never intersect).
                                       
                                     Image about Eucilidian geometry.

With general relativity Einstein showed that this is not the case.Just way we can distort the shapes drawn on the piece of paper by bending the paper,space itself is distorted or bent around massive objects.That is to say just the way that bending a piece of paper results in a two dimensional plane becoming wrapped around a third spatial dimension,the three spatial dimensions of space are wrapped around a fourth spatial dimensions,according to the distribution of matter in the universe as mass is the property that causes space to bend in this way.

Image of tow spatial and three spatial dimensions curving around three and forth dimensions respectively.  Space warps massive objects


This is physically impossible to visualize.Our brains can only comprehend three spatial dimensions but when we do analogy,like the bending of the piece of paper,and understand that space does the same thing.But it is impossible to depict the four spatial dimensions.These conclusions describe the universe as non-Euclidian. Parallel lines can indeed cross if they move through curve space-time.

                                                 Analogy what space time does


Einstein derived his theory in an attempt to expand special relativity,which applies only to inertial frames(non acceleration),but it include all reference frame which is why it is called general relativity.General Relativity is a big improvement on Newton's Law of Gravitation in terms of a satisfactory theory of gravity.Newton outlined the aspects of gravitational force but he didn't know exactly what gravity is and how it propagates.But Einstein proved through his general relativity theory.Just imagine the warping (become bent) of space deflects the path of other objects,for example,a massive ball pressing down on a membrane.

     Massive ball pressing down on a membrane.the warping (become bent) of ball deflects the path of other objects                     the warping (become bent) of space deflects the path of other objects

This creature creates what we know of as gravity,being that massive objects tend to fall towards more massive objects,and this explain the orbits of the planets around the sun,as well as the falling of objects towards Earth.Space and time are not separate,they comprise the spacetime fabric.Space-time tells matter how to move and matter tells spacetime how to curve.


Gravitational Lensing:

General Theory Of Relativity just like Special relativity,enjoys a tremendous amount of corroboration by experiment.One necessary result of the theory is that light should follow curved paths around massive objects,and a famous experiment observed light from a distant star curving around the Sun during a solar eclipse,whereby blocking of the sun's light allowed us to directly observe the light from the star behind,which appeared in a shifted location.


Perceived Star Position

Light can follow curved paths

When light is deflected around more compact objects like black holes,the light from the more distant objects can bend around the mass in a way that results in multiple images of the object.This phenomenon is called Gravitational lensing,and it is a common astronomical observations.

The light from the more distant objects can bend around the mass in a way that results in multiple images of the object.

General Theory Of Relativity predicts and explains all kinds of other observable phenomena,like anomalies in the orbit of the planet Mercury,and things like neutron stars and black holes.But as strong as the General Theory Of Relativity is,it is not complete,because it has not merged with the particle world.That is to say,we do not yet know how general relativity can be reconciled with quantum physics.




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