7:30 pm, Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
Fairmont Lounge, St. John's College
2111 Lower Mall, UBC
What is spacetime? What is gravity?
In 1908 Hermann Minkowski argued that Einstein's special relativity
required something completely new, called "spacetime", of which space
and time were only aspects. In 1912 Einstein finally accepted Minkowski's
idea, and then went all out and founded his "General Theory of Relativity"
on the concept of spacetime. In this theory, we are often told, gravity is
not a force but just another aspect of spacetime structure. But what does
that mean? I will argue that (i) contrary to folklore, Einstein actively
opposed this idea, and thought instead that the main lesson of general
relativity was that it unified gravity and inertia; and that (ii) even in
2016, this is the an attractive way to interpret general relativity.
To learn more please visit his
This lecture is one of the PITP's special public events to celebrate the Centenary of General Relativity. You can find the resource material here.
Additional resources for this talk: slides and