Essay On How Space And Time Became Space-Time

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Essay 59: How Space and Time Became Space-Time Today, the term ‘space-time matrix’ is well known to scientists and laypeople alike. Until the early 20th century, however, almost everyone held the classical view that space and time exist as two absolute, independent entities. In 1915, Einstein’s general theory of relativity transformed that view forever. This article will explore how this radical transformation occurred. For the vast majority of human history, almost no one conceived of space and time as mutable or interrelated. This is no accident. In our everyday lives, all events seem to occur in the context of rigid three dimensional space and the one way arrow of time. Isaac Newton captured this view in his epic work The Principia when he wrote, “Absolute, true, and…show more content…
If your friend asks you to meet up at 8 pm, the next obvious question would be, where? Conversely, if your friend asks you to meet at a local restaurant, you would instinctively ask, at what time? Beyond this obvious link, however, nothing in our everyday experience seems capable of altering space or time itself. The notions that space can curve like a fabric or the flow of time can be altered by a strong gravitational field seem bizarre and antithetical to common sense. The first indication that the Newtonian theory of gravity was incomplete came from observations of the orbit of the planet Mercury. Astronomers noticed that the planet’s perihelion point, or location where Mercury is closest to the sun, gradually shifts over long spans of time. Nothing in Newtonian physics accounts for this anomaly. While mathematicians like Gauss had developed non-Euclidian systems of geometry by the early 19th century, concepts like spherical curvature seemed to apply to tangible bodies like the Earth and moon. No one seriously entertained the possibility that space itself might be
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