Would we have relativity without Einstein?

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Offline Refractor

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Would we have relativity without Einstein?
« on: 30/06/2011 08:15:55 »
If Einstein hadn't come up with relativity, e=mc2, time dilation, etc, would somebody else have?  If nobody else had done the thought experiments and made the intuitive leaps that he did, would the evidence available today give us the theory anyway?


Offline Soul Surfer

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Would we have relativity without Einstein?
« Reply #1 on: 30/06/2011 09:01:50 »
Several other people were thinking along similar lines about the subject of space time at that time it would have been worked out eventually. The Michelson Morley negative experiment provided a great impetus to thinking.  The gravitational distortion aspects might have taken considerably longer.

It is interesting that in our visible universe our location may always have be relative to something else but our velocity isn't because we can all measure our individual velocities relative to the cosmic microwave background radiation which is a property of the whole universe to give our absolute speed and direction through space.
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Offline yor_on

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Would we have relativity without Einstein?
« Reply #2 on: 30/06/2011 10:08:04 »
Well, Galileo was thinking of it before Einstein :) 'relative motion' I mean, even though he used boats to describe it. But Einstein was very special, considering that it is 106 years since he first presented his ideas they still feel very fresh to me. I really enjoy QM, but Einsteins ideas are made for 'pondering' and they are worth the effort. It's half math and half philosophy as I feel about it. He was one of the immortal thinkers. But there are so many others that fascinate me too, like Planck's ideas and .. and .. We have such a lot of good guys to look and learn from, when we try to understand this weird universe :)

But I enjoy those best that actually can explain how they thought, reading about how they got to their ideas make it so much easier to understand, and help me to see how they expected it to work. And there Einstein, and those writing about him, did a great work analyzing it.

And yes Soul Surfer, CBR is interesting.
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Offline Mr. Data

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Would we have relativity without Einstein?
« Reply #3 on: 02/07/2011 15:40:25 »
There are many sources which shows that relativity was already a hot development, and Einstein' equations (atleast some of them) where already known by other prominent scientists of the era, which included Einstein's most famous equation E=Mc^2, which I beleive Poncare developed before him? Well, either way, as many professionals have said, Einstein's relativity would have been developed even if he had not published his equations: apparently all the information was there, and scientists where hot on it's tracks.