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Albert Einsteinís Theories of Relativity

Albert Einsteinís (1879-1955) Theories of Relativity expand upon Newtonís Universal Law of Gravitation. The Theory of General Relativity is a theory of gravitation that posits that the observed gravitational pull between two bodies of mass is the result of the distortion or warping of time and space by those same bodies of mass. Einstein developed the theory between 1905 and 1915 as a complement to his Theory of Special Relativity, which tends to emphasize inertia. The Theory of General Relativity, in contrast, emphasizes no particular state of motion. The Theory of Special Relativity, the concept behind one of the 20th centuryís most well known equations (E = mc2), links mass and energy. Through this idea, a minute particle of mass can be converted into enormous amounts of energy. The Theory of Special Relativity thus forms the basis for nuclear energy and can be considered the precursor to the technology that allowed such advances as the efficient generation of electricity and the development of nuclear weapons. Like many other scientific advances, Einsteinís Theories of Relativity were controversial at first. However, through further experimentation, one of the hallmarks of modern scientific inquiry, Einsteinís Theory of General Relativity was shown to explain some of the very phenomena that Newtonís Universal Law of Gravitation simply could not. For example, Einsteinís Theory of General Relativity accurately explains the infinitesimal abnormalities in the orbits of planets like Mercury (known as the perihelion advance in the particular case of the planet Mercury) that cannot be explained using Newtonís Law of Gravity. The Theory of General Relativity is also the basis for our present understanding of black holes, areas where the gravitational pull is so intense that light cannot escape. Perhaps most important in terms of our understanding of the universe, the Theory of General Relativity forms the basis for the Big Bang Theory for the development of the universe, one of the major scientific responses to religious based creationist views regarding the beginning of the universe.

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