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Einstein's Jury:
The Race to Test Relativity
Jeffrey Crelinsten

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Chapter 1 [HTML] or [PDF format]


"Einstein's Jury tells a fascinating and largely unknown story of how Einstein's revolutionary ideas on the nature of space and time were received, understood, misunderstood, tested and finally confirmed by astronomers of the day, giving birth to relativistic cosmology."--Alan S.McRae, Mathematical Reviews

"Einstein's Jury is a story of true scientific effort and petty human weaknesses and eventualities. It is hard to put down this tale of how American astronomers, equipped with the best instruments in the world, struggled for or against the observational evidence for three experimental consequences of Einstein's theory of general relativity."--József Illy, Isis

"Einstein's Jury is an extremely well researched and readable account of how Einstein's innovative theories were received in the early decades of the twentieth century. The book follows the birth of modern astrophysics from the first trickles off Einstein's pen in 1905 to the emergence of relativistic cosmology in the mid-1930s. . . . Crelinsten's account of Relativity's twenty-year struggle for acceptance by the scientific community is told with all the tension of a well-paced thriller. I have no doubt that professional historians and popular science readers alike will thoroughly enjoy Einstein's Jury."--Gerard McMahon, Astronomy and Space

"Crelinsten charts an important but understudied episode in the history of modern physics: the empirical tests of general relativity. . . . Crelinsten is a believer in details. He diligently documents exchanges of ideas, conducts of experiments, and steps of arguments. He utilizes two kinds of sources. Regarding Einstein and other European physicists, Crelinsten relies on published documents and the secondary literatures. To delineate American astronomers' activities, he uses a lot of unpublished archival substances."--Chen-Pang Yeang, University of Toronto Quarterly

"Crelinsten is to be congratulated on having made a substantial contribution to our understanding of the reception of general relativity by American astronomers, and the central role they played in placing the theory's astronomical predictions beyond doubt."--Andrew Warwick, British Journal for the History of Science

"Crelinsten . . . is a good writer, who, without repeating himself, periodically sums up his discussion and sets things up for the next section so that we always know what to look forward to and are reminded of what we have just learned. . . . I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in how revolutionary scientific ideas find acceptance within the scientific community."--Naomi Pasachoff, Metascience


"There is no shortage of literature on Einstein and relativity, yet Crelinsten succeeds in providing a novel and fruitful perspective on how Einstein's theory of general relativity was received in its early years. By focusing on the astronomers rather than the physicists, and America rather than Europe, he adds a valuable chapter to the history of modern science in which scientific and social aspects are treated equally and in the same compelling detail."--Helge Kragh, University of Aarhus, Denmark

"Jeffrey Crelinsten has written a wonderful book that fills an important gap in our knowledge of the reception and acceptance of general relativity in the scientific community: he focuses on the crucial role played by astronomers, particularly in the United States. In a fascinating account he describes how general relativity was tested and confirmed and how the new field of relativistic cosmology emerged out of this work. I wish this book had appeared earlier!"--A. J. Kox, University of Amsterdam

"An excellent book, with wonderful gems that arise out of the author's mastery of the literature. It will be enormously useful to Einstein scholars as well as to those interested in the history of astronomy."--Daniel Kennefick, University of Arkansas

"A fascinating and detailed story of the emergence of modern cosmology that reaches back to the debates over the validity of Einstein's theory of general relativity during the early decades of the twentieth century. This is an American tale of pragmatism and empiricism, of eclipse expeditions and of the intrepid spirit of those who built the world's largest astronomical observatories and discovered an expanding universe."--Diana Kormos Buchwald, Einstein Papers Project, Caltech

"An overwhelming accomplishment that surely will have a lasting impact on the history of the subject. So much is laid to rest about the dominance of the 'Eddington' 1919 eclipse result and its resulting PR as to be an eye-opener to many (to most) would-be-historians. [Crelinsten's] research into original sources is powerful and makes the case!"-- Allan R. Sandage, Staff Astronomer Emeritus, The Observatories (Pasadena, CA) Carnegie Institution of Washington

"Since the 1960s, scientists have shown with exquisite precision that Einstein was right about relativity. But for relativity's first two decades (1910-1930), the case for Einstein was hardly a slam dunk. Jeffrey Crelinsten tells the exciting roller-coaster story of the early experimental tests of special and general relativity, from light deflection measurements to ether-drift tests. Believers debated skeptics, but in the end, the jury was swayed by the data. Crelinsten's tale reads like a scientific courtroom thriller."--Clifford Will, Washington University in St. Louis, author of Was Einstein Right?

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File created: 4/21/2017

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