A Relative Perspective

Einstein's theories of relativity and quantum mechanics form two cornerstones of accepted science. However, the theory of relativity is based on two separate works commonly referred to as the 'Special Theory of Relativity' published in 1905 and the 'General Theory of Relativity' published in 1916. Almost from the outset, these theories have challenged our intuitive worldview of time and space, which subsequently led to the idea of an expanding universe. While this latter idea may, today, not seem that controversial, it contains the suggestion that the universe is still ‘a work in progress’ that is often in direct conflict with many religions.    


Both theories of relativity will be reviewed and to some extent challenged, as part of the on-going `duty of inquiry` rather than simply accepting that established science must always be right. However, there is no subliminal intention to suggest that established science has to be wrong. Therefore, it is possibly appropriate to state, from the outset, that most scientists believed the theory of relativity has already been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. These scientists can rightly point to the mathematics, deductive logic and experimental observations, which they believe support all the basic assumptions of relativity. Of course, on what might appear to be a sceptical note, history tells us that this can also be the situation just before an accepted axiom is proved wrong or, at least, incomplete. So while the `weight of authority` would seem to firmly support the theory of relativity, it still carries the inference of being a theory and not fully verified fact.