One hundred years of gravity

One hundred years of gravity

The discovery of the gravitational light bending of the stars around the Sun in 1919 were really embedded in a very exciting history and that history is connected to Einstein’s
theory of relativity is also connected to the first World War There was an astronomer in Potsdam his name was Erwin Finlay-Freundlich and he was obsessed with the idea to prove
Einstein’s theory of relativity He was working very closely with Einstein and already in 1914 he set out to observe
an eclipse in the Crimea But that was at the evening of the first World War and so he was immediately captured and locked away and was not able to do the observations In a sense this was a blessing in disguise because at that time Einstein’s theory of relativity was not yet completed and he still was missing a factor of two so his predictions were a factor of two off
from the real result Two years later in 1916 Karl Schwarzschild was actually the first one to solve Einstein’s
equations very simply and he did all this on the front, on the Russian front while he was a soldier in the first World War And Einstein then later basically presented
these results in Berlin and said he would never have thought that his equations would have such a simple solution Unfortunately Karl Schwarzschild died one year later from a disease he had actually caught on the front and so we were missing a big genius for astronomy for the rest of the time but his equations are still what we are basing our understanding of black holes on And then Sir Arthur Eddington at that time he was not yet Sir he was working at Cambridge he was a professor at Cambridge at that time and during the first World War there was almost no communication between Germany, Einstein, and Cambridge but Eddington had a private version of the
Einstein’s theory of relativity and he used that theory in order to evade becoming a soldier in the
first World War because he convinced the London military that he doesn’t want to go to war but he’s preparing a solar eclipse And so Eddington right after the first World War then set out to West Africa and there was another expedition to Brazil where they observed the light bending and they exactly measured or roughly measured what Einstein had predicted And I think the most important effect of this measurement was that Einstein all of a sudden became famous like a rock star and from then on everybody knew the theory of relativity and a lot of people were trying to measure it to prove it and in the years after there were many, many different, and more and more accurate measurements that proved the theory of general relativity Hundred years later gravitational waves were discovered which was a major prediction of the theory and then also just last year the gravitational redshift from the black hole in the Galactic centre was detected with telescopes at ESO and so I think this rounds up the hundred year history of the general theory of relativity When you think about similar events that could happen now or in the future I cannot help but think about the mess which
we are in our ignorance about dark matter, dark energy,
black holes We don’t have a clue what dark matter is what dark energy is we know something about black holes but somehow I have the feeling we are in a similar situation as we were a
hundred years ago that there has to be something a new Einstein to come to explain to us how all of that fits together For me it’s highly speculative but also highly fascinating to think about whether black holes have something to do with
dark matter and I think we will we are set up for the next decades to really do fundamental observations in this field

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. I like that this video is more in-depth. Generic videos might seem better suited to people who will see no more than that one video, but for the people that are further interested, they don't want superficial content and might be less inclined to following this channel. As the YouTube channel of ESA you are in the special position where you can cover much details and stories of what is going on within the agency, from designing and testing the instruments aboard missions to laying out plans to innovate our planet with help from space. So, could we see more often explain videos, just like the educational channels on YouTube? Building a subscriber base goes slow, but at least then your viewers are less like leaves floating by. If too many people are not familiar enough with ESA, then give people the opportunity to do so! 😀

  2. Greetings from Uruguay! Thanks for the video! I added the subtitles in Spanish, so more people can appreciate this information. 😀

  3. When I first saw this, I was thinking, "Wait a minute. I wasn't alive 100 years ago but I'm pretty sure gravity is older than that." X-D

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