Relativistic effects were depicted solely by trick shots that had to be portrayed with extreme accuracy.
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Motions of 0. Pioneering work sometimes had to be undertaken. For example, to describe the vibration of light waves in the ether a relatively short sequence in the film , experiments were carried out for weeks before filming could even begin. To this end, the film was organized into three parts and a supplement. The depiction of length contraction in Garrett P.
The stationary train at the top appears to be shortened as shown at the bottom when it is moving at a speed approaching that of the speed of light. Source : Serviss, Einstein Theory ref. The … presentations had to be repeated for days on end as the rush of visitors from all classes of society was so active. This film aroused a degree of interest that has never been seen before, not just with scholars, but also with levels of society that otherwise have no interest at all in abstract observations.
In general, the reasons for the enthusiasm of the German public for Einstein and his theory of relativity were multidimensional and complex; I only note that they ranged from the social and political upheavals in postwar Germany, and the cultural environment in Germany in the s, to the fascination with a theory that reformulated the fundamental concepts of everyday experience.
Further, sociological and historical studies of the popularization of science have suggested that the public should not be treated monolithically, but instead as a multiplicity of audiences and actors, each having different expectations, knowledge, and attitudes toward science. Ernst Gehrcke — around It does cover, however, the main groups who were involved in the public discussion in Germany of the Einstein film and their motivations.
There are two groups of people who have mistaken views about the theory of relativity because they are not used to thoroughly comprehending a problem. This film comes across as a comprehensible but thorough commentary … for both groups. Kornblum … has presented the German educational film industry with a masterpiece. To be allowed to contribute to reviving the confidence, vigor, and spirit of the Germanic people, that would be a veritable divine objective of German art! Further, they hoped that the public would be inspired by educational films in general, since they were still not sufficiently established and needed support: Educational films accounted for only two percent of all films shown in the German cinema.
Thus, as far as the German film industry and cultural sector were concerned, the Einstein film was associated with pedagogical and political expectations that far exceeded those of other German educational films. This was also true, to an even greater degree, for the general public. How can the general interest in the theory of relativity shown by the wider public be explained? It is certain that Einstein has shaken the foundations of our common worldview and, aware of it or not, has stirred our hearts so that we feel insecure on this tiny earth that always had appeared so solid.
This insecurity about world affairs explains the longing to be able to reason for oneself, to know exactly the meaning of these notions that turn our world upside down, and to find our feet planted firmly back on the ground.
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Because of this general interest, the Colonna Movie Company decided … to use the film as the best and newest aid for making the theory of relativity general knowledge for mankind. But nothing of this kind occurred in the Einstein film. Instead, events and images appeared that made my head spin, so that I no longer knew if I was quite all right, or just relative. In any case, one must be considerably saner than me to understand Einstein. The accurate clock … plays an important role in the explanation of the theory of relativity.
We are shown that a clock on the street indicates a completely different time than a clock carried by a man riding the subway. Is it possible to film a theory? Furthermore, he pointed out several substantial mistakes in the film, for example, that the clocks on the moving train and those on the bridge that the train is crossing showed the same time when they coincided, while according to the Lorentz time transformation they have to differ. Therefore scientists cannot gain anything new from a film.
Thus, the issue here was not an incorrectly understood physical theory, but rather was inherently political. Albert Einstein — shown with the most popular illustrations of his special and general theories of relativity, a rapidly moving and contracting train and the deflection of starlight during a solar eclipse.
Einstein creates a universe using the imperfection of our sensory perception.
Expertise. Insights. Illumination.
He preaches to us: All of your perceptions are relative, therefore you must construct a relative universe following my formula. The General theory requires a larger symmetry group. Symmetry constraints emphasize physical aspects: the symmetry operations return some values of parameters as invariant like the space-time interval and leave others as variant like the clock readings in different reference frames, in constant motion with respect to each other.
Symmetries result from transformations that leave all relevant structure intact. We are familiar with such symmetry transformations in daily life. We easily change the clock as we travel between different time zones. But the tennis games we play at home and abroad are the same as far as the physical parameters are concerned. The modern use is quite different from the way Einstein uses the notion of covariance. Einstein associates covariance with the transformation rules of the theory of relativity.
This leads to the characterization of covariance as form invariance.
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For Einstein a fit must exist between the theory of relativity and the material world. We explicated fit in terms of the satisfaction of constraints, associated with the theory of relativity. If their amount and their interconnections can be increased, then many scientific theories will fail to satisfy the constraints.
It will usually leave us with only one plausible survivor. For instance, after the development of the Special theory, Einstein increased the constraints on an admissible relativity theory. Inertial reference frames should not be privileged over non-inertial frames. This extension of the relativity principle and the demand of covariance lead to the General theory of relativity.
This theory was able to explain the perihelion advance of Mercury, where Newtonian mechanics had failed. It would be exaggerated to claim that there is such a tight fit between the theory and the world, that there is a one-to-one mapping of the theoretical with the empirical elements. For instance, the evidence does not tell us whether space-time exists, devoid of all matter.
But Einstein holds that one theory always satisfies the constraints better than its rivals. It does not follow from this argument that the survivor—let us say the theory of relativity—will be true. It does follow that the process of elimination will leave us with the most adequate theoretical account presently available. New experimental or observational evidence may force us to abandon this survivor. The desire for unification and logical simplicity may persuade us to develop alternative theoretical accounts.
Although Einstein does claim that there is one correct theory, he cannot mean this in an absolute sense. His insistence on the eternal revisability of scientific theories, including constraints, speaks against this interpretation. What he must mean is that there is always one theory, at any one point, which best fits the available evidence. This one theory copes best with all the constraints, which logic and evidence erect; but there is nothing final about such a theory; it will always remain falsifiable. Each camp can claim textual evidence for its preferred interpretation [Frank ] [Holton ; ] [Howard, ; ; ].
According to this interpretation there exist logically incompatible theories, which nevertheless are equally compatible with the evidence. Einstein actually employs these constraints, as we have seen, to argue in favour of the relativity theory. Discussions of holism usually highlight the radical underdetermination of an entire theory by empirical evidence. According to this aspect, theories are structured conceptual systems, which entertain many mathematical and conceptual interrelations between them. This aspect makes the deducibility of empirical laws from more fundamental laws possible.
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Duhem, for instance, appeals to an analogy of science with an organism,. Einstein is fond of the view that theoretical constructions are not inductive generalizations from experience but free inventions of the human mind. This fit is achieved in the theory of relativity, we suggested, through the introduction of constraints. The increase in constraints—extension of the relativity principle to non-inertial motion, the introduction of the principle of equivalence and the form-invariance of laws covariance principle —takes Einstein from the STR to the GTR.
Einstein reflected on the status of geometry in the light of the GTR. But Einstein sees an important difference between an axiomatic and a practical geometry: the former makes no reference to the world of experience, whilst the latter does.
Related Einsteins Opponents: The Public Controversy about the Theory of Relativity in the 1920s
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