General Relativity at 75: How Right Was Einstein?

Science  09 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4982, pp. 770-776
DOI: 10.1126/science.250.4982.770


The status of experimental tests of general relativity is reviewed on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. Einstein's equivalence principle is well supported by experiments such as the Eötvös experiment, tests of special relativity, and the gravitational redshift experiment. Tests of general relativity have reached high precision, including the light deflection and the perihelion advance of Mercury, proposed by Einstein 75 years ago, and new tests such as the Shapiro time delay and the Nordtvedt effect in lunar motion. Gravitational wave damping has been detected to an accuracy of 1 percent on the basis of measurements of the binary pulsar. The status of the "fifth force" is discussed, along with the frontiers of experimental relativity, including proposals for testing relativistic gravity with advanced technology and spacecraft.

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