Dr. Alexander Blum, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Relativity after Einstein

In November 1915, Albert Einstein published his theory of gravitation, thus attaining international renown which was to last unfailingly until the present day, long after his death. The history of his general theory of relativity, however, took a different course. After the initial hype, interest in and research into the theory ebbed, resurfacing only ca. 50 years later, around 1960, in what is commonly referred to as the “renaissance” of general relativity. Only in this period did general relativity become a research field in its own right (with conferences and journals) and were essential concepts developed that we now strongly associate with Einstein’s theory, such as the black hole. In my talk, I will follow this development, asking why it took so long for Einstein’s theory to mature, what finally led to its breakthrough, and what that teaches us about scientific revolutions and theory change.

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