Beautiful, Simple and Profound -
Final Development and Testing GR

BBC: Albert Einstein Documentary HD  (1h 30m) (start at 44 min) (start at 44 min)

  General relativity: 100 years of the most beautiful theory ever created

  The cases of Hilbert and Noether are interesting enough to
  dwell on. In the Spring of 1915, Hilbert invited Einstein to
  give some lectures at the university at Gottingen, which
  had become the center of mathematics in Germany and perhaps
  in the whole Western world. Einstein and Grossmann had
  published papers expounding a preliminary version of his new
  theory of gravity, and as Einstein was continuing to work on
  it Hilbert wanted to know more. He was already familiar with
  the exotic (to Einstein) mathematics involved (having
  developed further some of it himself), so as soon as he was
  able to achieve some understanding of the physics, Hilbert
  was off and running.

  At first, Einstein was delighted in finding a new
  intellectual companion in Hilbert, someone who was able to
  instantly grasp the core of the problem and tackle it
  head-on. As he wrote in a letter near the end of November
  1915, "The theory is beautiful beyond comparison. However,
  only one colleague has really understood it", referring to
  Hilbert. Einstein considered this famed mathematician a
  genuine "comrade of conviction" who shared his attitude
  about science as transcending national and ethnic
  boundaries. That stance might seem obvious today, but it
  could be considered unpatriotic in the Germany of WWI.

  But this delight soon turned to resentment as a kind of race
  ensued, as least in Einstein's imagination, to write down
  the correct set of equations to describe the gravitational
  field. Both men understood that this was something big, and
  the stakes were high. Einstein carried on an intense
  correspondence with Hilbert and other scientists during the
  struggle. He became horrified that, after his years of
  striving, someone else might be able to hijack his work and
  claim credit for the complete and final theory of gravity.
  As he said in the same letter, "In my personal experience I
  have hardly come to know the wretchedness of mankind better
  than as a result of this theory and everything connected to
  it." In a note a few days after that to Michele Besso,
  Einstein continued. "My colleagues are acting hideously in
  this affair." For his part, Hilbert had already made the
  remark that would later become somewhat infamous: "physics
  is much too hard for physicists."

  While author David Rowe rightfully points out we "know
  almost nothing about what Einstein and Hilbert talked about
  during the physicist's week in Gottingen," Hilbert did send
  off a manuscript with the correct, final field equations
  that comprised the fundamental content of the theory of
  general relativity. And he did so almost simultaneously with
  Einstein's public presentation of these equations. The
  debate over priority is still being waged by historians, but
  Einstein and Hilbert had forgotten their differences and
  moved on almost immediately. In fact, Hilbert relinquished
  any claim to priority and gave unqualified credit for the
  theory to the physicist. "Every boy in the streets of
  Gottingen understands more about four-dimensional geometry
  than Einstein. Yet, in spite of that, Einstein did the work
  and not the mathematicians."

  In the case of Emmy Noether, it is even more difficult to
  ascertain the exact contributions she made to general
  relativity. Mathematical research at the time was largely a
  verbal affair, with formal publication almost an
  afterthought, and Noether was especially fond of the
  conversational approach to math. Hilbert had called her to
  Gottingen for particular help with the immediate aftermath
  of the discovery of the field equations to work on the very
  difficult issue of the conservation of energy in general
  relativity. (This problem is so tricky that it was only in
  1981 that Edward Witten was able to prove that the energy
  derived from the gravitational field equations is guaranteed
  to be positive.)

  (Emmy) Noether's Theorem may be the most important
  theoretical result in modern physics.

  Correspondence at the time from and to Einstein, including
  several references to a lost set of notes by Noether, make
  it clear that she provided critical help and tutelage during
  the frenzied months leading up to the final appearance of
  the field equations. But even more important was that her
  work on the energy problem led to her discovery of the
  far-reaching result that we now call Noether's theorem and
  to a mature mathematical understanding of the gravitational
  equations themselves.

  No matter how clear Einstein's vision might have been about
  what the physical content of a relativistic theory of
  gravity should be, there was no theory until there was a set
  of equations that expressed those ideas and that satisfied
  certain mathematical and physical demands of consistency.
  This is why Einstein struggled for so many years to put his
  ideas into a form that would be worthy of the name "theory."
  And it's the best explanation why general relativity should
  rightfully be credited to a small handful of authors rather
  than just Einstein himself.

  The matter of the correct form of the gravitational field
  equations aside, it is still true that the formulation of
  the equivalence principle, the seminal thought experiments,
  and therefore the initial physical impetus for general
  relativity was certainly Einstein's alone.

Let's Recall with Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Amazon: Newton's Principia for the Common Reader (Physics)
by S. Chandrasekhar

The Principia (1687) reigned supreme for more than 200 years.
For Newton, time and space were absolute.


Along comes Einstein and look what happened in 1905.

By A. Einstein
June 30, 1905

Special Relativity