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Original Papers

  1. Sep 3, 2005 #1
    Can the original documents/papers of special, and general relativity be found on the net? I tried to find them using google but was unsuccessful. What language are they written in by the way? And are there any versions translated into English?

    Thank You.


  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2005 #2
    The paper that introduced the special theory of relativity was Einstein's Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper, published in the Annalen der Physik in German in 1905. It has been translated into English, and can be found here:

    On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies (pdf)

    General relativity wasn't defined by any one paper. Einstein originally came up with the equivalence principle in 1907, and published some ideas on it then, but he and Hilbert struggled to complete it until 1916, so the papers are a bit more scattered. I don't know where you can find any of the GR papers, but I'm sure someone will.
  4. Sep 3, 2005 #3
    The original papers dealing with special relativity didn't begin with Einstein. You might be interested in searching for and studying Einstein's sources:

    http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00000987/00/Michelson.pdf [Broken]
    http://www-cosmosaf.iap.fr/Poincare-RR3A.htm [Broken]

    Einstein's contribution to special relativity was the simple yet grisly and tortured way he combined into one package the ideas of Larmor, Lorentz, and Poincaré:


    The final synthesis of special relativity foundations with the clearest and deepest understanding is given here: http://www.everythingimportant.org/relativity/
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  5. Sep 4, 2005 #4
    Perspicacious, aka Mr Eugene Shubert,

    I'm sure it would be appreciated if you acknowledged that you are the author of the paper at http://www.everythingimportant.org/relativity/ - it seems obvious that you have an agenda when so many of your posts make reference to it.

    Is your agenda revealed by your posting a link to http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0408077, a book which awards relativity to Poincare and to a strand in a Christian forum with the title "Einstein's Crazy Caricature of a Lopsided Space and Time"?
  6. Sep 4, 2005 #5
    Do you see me wasting everyone's time?


    My agenda is revealed by the appropriateness of my answers to posted inquires. My only concern is that good questions are being answered correctly.
  7. Sep 4, 2005 #6
    Implying that Einstein was a plagiarist, or directing people to read books which makes that claim, or directing them to threads in other fora in which you make that claim as Eugene Shubert, is hardly "answering good questions correctly".

    Since you have made that claim publicly in PF already, and it has been rebutted in the thread https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=84076 , I don't see why you should feel compelled to dig it up over and over.

    People post here to get discuss, or get real answers associated with, real physics questions, not for directions to conspiracy theories.
  8. Sep 4, 2005 #7
    The origin of the concept of spacetime

    Another exceptional reference to primary source documents is http://www.univ-nancy2.fr/DepPhilo/walter/papers/einstd7.pdf

    This is a great paper. It summarizes Minkowski's famous Cologne lecture of 1908. Have you ever come across this quote in books about Einsteinian relativity?

    Minkowski was not referring to Einstein. Minkowski was claiming scientific priority for a great, new, geometric theory of relativity that went beyond Einstein's relativity. The ideas presented were based largely on the work of Henri Poincaré. Poincaré was purposely excluded from the meeting.
  9. Sep 4, 2005 #8
    Absolutely. That is quoted in Kip Thorne's Black Holes and Time Warps. It's well known that Minkowski came up with the idea of unified spacetime. It is called Minkowskian geometry, after all. Einstein himself calls it a Minkowskian world in his Relativity: The Special and General Theory. Are you somehow implying Hermann Minkowski didn't receive the credit he deserved, because he certainly did. And so did Poincare, Lorentz, Larmor, and Hilbert! I'm tired of this debate. Relativity authors mention all of them, but Einstein was the one who took Lorentz, Poincare, and Larmor's ideas the furthest, and Hilbert didn't get in on the general relativity game until 1915. Did they make important contributions? Of course. Did any of them discover relativity theory? No. Einstein did.

    Physicists of the day looked up to and became friends with Einstein, including Bohr, Planck, Lorentz, and Hilbert. Implying that Einstein was a plagiarist is ridiculous.

    "I am more and more convinced that the electrodynamics of moving bodies, as presented today, is not correct, and that it should be possible to present it in a simpler way." - Einstein, 1899
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2005
  10. Sep 4, 2005 #9
    The great number of defining papers on SR and GR


    Yes. Einstein was the one who took Lorentz, Poincare, and Larmor's ideas the furthest on June 30, 1905. But I understand that Mozart is asking for English internet sources that reveal the origination of special and general relativity. The development of special and general relativity was, historically, a long, evolving, continuous process. I have provided all the sources I know. If you know of links that go beyond my references, please post them.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  11. Sep 4, 2005 #10
    Ok, sounds sensible enough. It seemed that your argument with neopolitan was going down the "Einstein didn't discover relativity" path, and you did post a link to a source which implied such. But perhaps I misjudged your intentions. I apologize. I didn't disagree with your original post of the other sources, although I did wince at the abstract of the book you linked to, but your later posts seemed to be more like common anti-Einstein rhetoric.

    As to the issue of who should get credit for the discovery of general relativity, I do think the quote you posted makes accusations on purely circumstantial grounds. The quote states it's believed Einstein might have stolen the equations from Hilbert, when it is also thought Hilbert could have stolen from Einstein (url), and most commonly stated that Hilbert and Einstein just arrived at the same solution from two different angles, and did so so close together (5 days) because they were in constant communication about their ideas, so there was an obvious correlation between their ideas without the need for plagiarism on anyone's part. I believe the latter is the most fair and unprejudice way of alloting credit. Einstein developed most of the insights, and Einstein and Hilbert dependently but seperately arrived at the correct equations from two different angles.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2005
  12. Sep 5, 2005 #11
    It's important to think for oneself

    We live in a culture that believes that Einstein discovered special and general relativity out of his own unimaginable genius and fertile imagination. What are the facts? What were the contributions to relativity before and after Einstein? Was Einstein's "Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" outrageously new and original or did he merely take the next logical baby step beyond previously existing ideas?

    The clearest and most reliable answer to the debate about the origins of relativity is to read all the original sources for oneself and not trust the conclusions of committees with vested interests.

    http://www.physics.unr.edu/faculty/winterberg/Hilbert-Einstein.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  13. Sep 6, 2005 #12


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    You are not interested in the generally accepted view (which has been thoroughly researched and discussed previously), and so I conclude you are being deceptive. You don't want people to think for themselves, you want them to believe you. Why else would you say "The clearest and most reliable answer to the debate about the origins of relativity is to read all the original sources for oneself and not trust the conclusions of committees with vested interests." and then supply a link to a very recent paper which was rejected for publication?

    The facts: You are hijacking a simple thread about the original papers of SR as a launching point for a debate about a subject the OP is not concerned with. This should be done in a separate thread in a suitable place, that probably not being in this forum.
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