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Nobel Prize in Physics for Relativity?

  1. Jul 4, 2016 #1
    Why didn't Einstein get Nobel Prize for ' Relativity'

    Has anyone else been awarded Nobel Prize for 'Relativity'?
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  3. Jul 4, 2016 #2


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    Einstein received the Nobel prize for "his contributions to theoretical physics, in particular the photoelectric effect". Supposedly this included relativity, but the Nobel committee did not spell this out. Likely because some members had reservations about this.
  4. Jul 4, 2016 #3


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    One possible reason was that there is in unofficial "rule" that you can not get the prize for theories that have not been very firmly confirmed by experiments. The SR was sort of confirmed early on (although I as far as I understand the early measurements were not -in reality- actually conclusive) but I don't think GR was really tested during his lifetime.
    Hence. I guess they thought that the prize he had already been awarded "covered" SR as well as the photoelectric effect (as well as his contributions to statistical physics and thermodynamics)
  5. Jul 4, 2016 #4


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    Some aspects of GR had been tested. According the following Wikipedia article, tests of sufficient precision were performed beginning in 1959, after Einstein had died (1955).
    in 1919, Einstein wrote a letter to The Times of London in which he thanked "English colleagues for their interest in understanding and testing his work."
  6. Jul 4, 2016 #5
    I think no other scientist has been awarded Nobel in the field of relativity.

    Do Nobel award givers still have some reservations about relativity or something political is going on?
  7. Jul 4, 2016 #6


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    Others have answered that Einstein was awarded a Nobel Prize for his contributions in physics. Ostensibly, that included Special Relativity. See the prize announcement below. Einstein's services included his theories of Special Relativity and General Relativity.

    However, the subject of relativity seems to have been minimized in the award speech.


    Why does one think that Einstein or anyone else should be awarded a Nobel Prize for Relativity?

    The Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumously. If any physicist was to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, specifically for Relativity, then it would have been Einstein. So no living physicist will be awarded a Nobel Prize specifically for 'Relativity'.

    Einstein gave his Nobel Lecture on the Fundamental Ideas and Problems of the Theory of Relativity
  8. Jul 4, 2016 #7


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    Relativity has been so long accepted, that one doesn't get prizes for relativity per se, rather some specific advances in which relativity is assumed to be correct.

    Many of the prizes have been for relativistic quantum field theory, including those to Tomonaga, Feynman and Schwinger; Glashow, Salam and Weinberg; 't Hooft and Veltman; Gross, Politzer and Wilczek.

    Prizes in general relativity include those to Taylor and Hulse; Perlmutter, Riess and Schmidt.
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