How right was Einstein? Towards new tests of General Relativity

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Abstract

Several applications of the concept of Einstein's theory of General Relativity are discussed. The degree to which space-time is curved around an object can be calculated for the given metric nature of General Relativity. This quantity covers over fifty orders of magnitude, from the surface of the smallest black holes, to the curvature of the Universe as a whole. General Relativity has two key ingredients that include Special Relativity and Einstein's Equivalence Principle, which are extremely well tested. Einstein's Equivalence Principle leads to the interpretation that any freely falling test body travels along geodesics in curved, four-dimensional spacetime. General Relativity predicts a system should lose energy through gravitational wave emission, implying the two orbits should slowly coalesce. The theoretical prediction matches the observations with significant accuracy, thus providing the first indirect detection of gravitational waves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalThe Physicist
Volume48
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

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