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I don't get the Theory of Relativity

  1. Dec 26, 2012 #1
    How did it become so famous when it's so hard to understand?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2012 #2
    I know huh?!

  4. Dec 26, 2012 #3
  5. Dec 26, 2012 #4
    Why does everyone always pick on relativity theory?
  6. Dec 26, 2012 #5

    I think this might help you. Although I get confused between general and special relativity.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Dec 26, 2012 #6
    Because it's correct (at least more than Newtonian gravity and Galilean relativity). Maybe one day, something will come along more correct and harder to understand (some kind of Grand Unified Theory), but for now, Einstein's Relativity is the best way we have.
  8. Dec 26, 2012 #7


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    Gold Member

    Some would think it the theory to be infamous. :wink:
  9. Dec 26, 2012 #8
    Speaking as a layman, I think it's simply the way one thinks. I'm sure many people are better suited to study relativity than QM and vice versa. For example, I've been much more successful at grasping relativity than thermodynamics, but many people probably experience the reverse. If you're worried that you're less smart than anybody else for having trouble with relativity, don't be; we all have our niches.
  10. Dec 26, 2012 #9
    I'm one of those people who wants to be smart but never will be lol. I come here to read stuff I don't understand, even though I don't understand 99% of physics I still find it interesting :)
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  11. Dec 26, 2012 #10
    It actually became famous for being so hard to understand. The saying used to be that there were only twelve people in the world outside of Einstein who understood it. To which Arthur Eddington asked, "Who are the other eleven?" (Eddington was the main promoter of the theory. He called everyone's attention to it.)
  12. Dec 27, 2012 #11
    According to the National Science Foundation one in five Americans still believes the sun revolves around the earth. These are not the sharpest pencils in the box, but inventions like the atom bomb tend to get their attention.
  13. Dec 28, 2012 #12
    I can't believe that. We're bad, but not that bad...
  14. Dec 28, 2012 #13
    Oh? Most people think that the summer is hotter because the Earth is closer to the Sun then. About half can't find the USA on a map of the world. About 15% think that the Gulf oil spill was the result of an environmentalist plot. Etc. Etc. Once one grasps these basic facts, politics makes a lot more sense.

    Well, at least Palin didn't become Prez US.
  15. Dec 28, 2012 #14
    It's true. Sometimes I wish only the intelligent could vote, then I realize what I'm saying and stop.
  16. Dec 29, 2012 #15

    Mainly the south?
  17. Dec 29, 2012 #16


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    Staff: Mentor

    I've often wondered that. My guess is that it is because few people learn it in high school and high school physics is as far as most people get. So if/when they encounter Relativity 5 or 15 years later, they don't take it seriously because they didn't learn it from The Foremost Authority on the subject that they have ever met.
  18. Dec 29, 2012 #17
    I don't know, but it seems reasonable to me to assume the more impoverished the area and the greater the classism the lower the scores.
  19. Dec 29, 2012 #18

    That's true! I moved around a lot when I was a kid and a couple times we had to live in the poorer areas and I ended up excelling academic wise in those areas, but when we moved to a more affluent area, I had to struggle to keep up just cause they were so much more advanced. I remember Oprah did a show on kids who did extremely well academically in the impoverished schools and then went to College and were struggling just to pass.
  20. Dec 29, 2012 #19

    The advantage of universal sufferage is that it gives the public the illusion that their voice is important. This gives the society stability.

    I remember some guy on TV giving George Carlin a hard time when George said that the voters didn't "own" the country. "George, how can you say that the voters don't own the country?" Good grief.
  21. Dec 30, 2012 #20

    Char. Limit

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    Gold Member

    Simple. It works.
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