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How many people understand General relativity by Enshtein?

  1. 0

    5 vote(s)
  2. 1

    0 vote(s)
  3. about 10

    0 vote(s)
  4. about 100

    0 vote(s)
  5. about 1000

    2 vote(s)
  6. about 10000

    3 vote(s)
  7. about 100000

    4 vote(s)
  8. more than 1000000

    8 vote(s)
  9. all physicists

    4 vote(s)
  10. all humans

    3 vote(s)
  1. Oct 30, 2009 #1
    I try to understand it, but i is too hard and very not clear like all phylosoph doctors level physics or math. So what amount of people in all world you bet understand General relativity? I mean who kows maybe enshtein with overs tricked us with infinitly not ended new symbols and math without aditional explanations, but lets say it's may opinion.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2009 #2
    English isn't your first language heh?

    I don't understand the second part of your post. I didn't feel like thinking in numbers how many people understand relativity by Enshtein (because that would involve me researching who Enshtein is and finding out what they say about relativity) so I picked 0.
  4. Oct 30, 2009 #3
    Einstein general relativity is one of the most simple and beautiful theory. It is understood by largely more than a million people alive today IMHO. Please note that it's a century old, and I'll quote Weinberg who said any decent physics student should understand GR better than Einstein. There is nothing surprising about that : for instance, nobody would argue, it is clear than any decent student understand mechanics better than Archimedes, although virtually none of them could have compared at that time.
  5. Oct 30, 2009 #4
    Attributed only as far as I can tell.
  6. Oct 30, 2009 #5
    I picked 10000 because...
  7. Oct 31, 2009 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The television series is a lie.

    See the truth for yourself (from the original comic)

  8. Oct 31, 2009 #7
    But 10,000 is still more than that, so it's okay. :wink: But I agree with humanino it's probably more than 1,000,000 (Also higher than 8,000) :approve:
  9. Oct 31, 2009 #8


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Pfft. Next you'll be telling me that Tellah never said "You spoony bard!"
  10. Oct 31, 2009 #9
    I understand General Relativity better than I understand your post.
  11. Oct 31, 2009 #10
    1million? are there even that many physicists around right now? let alone ones that work on GR?
  12. Oct 31, 2009 #11
    I think a lot of people have a vague notion of what it's about but not many people truly understand it.

    And I disagree with the person that said every decent modern physics student should understand GR better than Einstein. GR isn't a topic that is extensively covered (if at all) at the undergraduate level.
  13. Oct 31, 2009 #12


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    Gold Member

    Do you think being a physicist is a requirement for understanding GR?
  14. Oct 31, 2009 #13
    I really enjoyed learning general relativity, though it did take quite a lot of thinking at the time to understand the type of curvature that was indicated by the equations. The equations are delightful once you can picture the corresponding curvature in your head.
  15. Oct 31, 2009 #14
    I think General Relativity makes sense, even more than Special Relativity. We know that Gravitation can't be observed directly, but rather it's effects, so the explanation can be improved upon. :smile: Newton said it's an actual force. Einstein said rather than a force, it's the bending of spacetime which creates what we call a "fictious force", drawing matter toward each other in a straight line through spacetime. (cool!)

    A personal analogy I think of, when you go fast around a curve and get pushed to the side of the inside of your car toward the curve, is it because a force is coming out of the curve and pulling you toward it? No! It's because your body wants to move in a straight line because of inertia. So Einstein's explanation of Gravitation says energy and matter move in a straight line through time and space (although spacetime gets more complicated than that). Then matter bends time and space which causes planets to revolve in a straight line through spacetime around the Sun, and matter to be drawn towards each other. He said that without a frame of reference, the effects of Gravitation are the same as acceleration in inertia.

    How else do we explain gravitational redshift? How else do we explain the orbit of Mercury? The angle of light being bent? (remember Newton's theory says light is not bent at all, and if it is it would bent it's at a different angle than General Relativity predicts) Gravitational time dilation is way cool, think GPS! And I know some PF members here may say General Relativity and and the empirical evidence by chance happens to be physically in a book. For those individuals, my response, why do you care so much? As far as coming up with ideas of your own, Einstein not only wanted to come up with new out of the ordinary ideas, but he was also on the side of understanding things for himself and figuring out how things worked. Seriously, what's wrong with that? Also food for thought for those PF members, the way Einstein came up with new ideas was he found explanations/rules which explained all the empirical evidence the old theories/laws did, plus more evidence. So something to consider is by using that strategy, you're more likely to come up with ideas which are useful. Just throwing all education in the wastebasket just so you can brag you came up with an idea of your own ISN'T a winning strategy! :rolleyes: If that doesn't convince you into believing coming up with useful/new ideas is better than new/rubbish, then "Your Mom's in a book" and "get a sense of wonder before you complain"!
  16. Oct 31, 2009 #15
    I would say the only one who really understood it was einstien it was after all his theory. Perhaps its possible someone does understand it now but I dont see how they could get it as if they were actualy him.
  17. Nov 1, 2009 #16
    This depends on what you mean by "understand." I find it hard to truly appreciate general relativity without a good knowledge of topology, differential geometry, and philosophy.

    @magpies: I don't know who said this quote, but someone said "millions of people today understand Einstein's relativity than Einstein himself. "
  18. Nov 1, 2009 #17
    Yes I know... but over 8000 isn't the meme.
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