Special Reviews

Astrophysical Observations: Lensing and Eclipsing Einstein's Theories

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Science  11 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5711, pp. 879-884
DOI: 10.1126/science.1106444

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Abstract

Albert Einstein postulated the equivalence of energy and mass, developed the theory of special relativity, explained the photoelectric effect, and described Brownian motion in five papers, all published in 1905, 100 years ago. With these papers, Einstein provided the framework for understanding modern astrophysical phenomena. Conversely, astrophysical observations provide one of the most effective means for testing Einstein's theories. Here, I review astrophysical advances precipitated by Einstein's insights, including gravitational redshifts, gravitational lensing, gravitational waves, the Lense-Thirring effect, and modern cosmology. A complete understanding of cosmology, from the earliest moments to the ultimate fate of the universe, will require developments in physics beyond Einstein, to a unified theory of gravity and quantum physics.

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