Review of Thinking About Space and Time: 100 Years of Applying and Interpreting General Relativity edited by Claus Beisbart, Tilman Sauer & Christian Wüthrich

Phillip Helbig

The Observatory, 141, 1281, 90–92 (April 2021)


This is a book review of LONG_Thinking About Space and Time edited by Claus Beisbart, Tilman Sauer & Christian Wüthrich. Volume 15 of the Einstein Studies series, it is the proceedings of a conference held in Berne in 2017 consisting of historical and/or philosophical (which should not be taken to exclude physics) accounts of various topics in general relativity (GR), such as the heuristics Einstein used in deriving GR and various mathematical details, though, except for cosmology, few applications; rather, the emphasis is on the structure of the theory, its interpretation, and relation to other theories (the ``theory of theories'', meaning not the best theory of all but rather the theory about how theories work, also gets a mention). The title of the chapter `The Metaphysics of Machian Frame-Dragging' gives a flavour. This book should prove interesting for those looking for a survey of current work on a theory which is over a century old but still a topic of current research, not just on its applications but, as emphasized here, on its foundations as well.


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