I finished re-reading Thomas Kuhn’s The Essential Tension a week or so ago. One comment that struck me as fascinating was how at the time of the publishing of that book there was actually very little in the way of actual experimental and observational confirmation of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. What was fascinating about that comment is that, from my layman’s perspective as a casual reader of science, it seems like a great many subsequent announcements have come forth that actually do confirm Einstein’s Theory. So, I thought it would be fun to start a thread reviewing some of those announcements.
Because I did not want to confine myself to recent announcements, I have elected to put this thread in the History forum. However, if any of you come across new announcements, please feel free to share them with us here.
Now, I suppose anybody with an interest in this topic could otherwise do what I did – type into their search engine something like “confirmation of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.” My purpose in starting this thread is also to make a point about how science advances. That is to say how theories help us to better understand the universe in which we reside, but also how a scientific approach can help us increase our confidence in our understanding.
This is becoming increasingly critical at this time in our history. Philosophical relativism and de-constructionist ideas have caused a widespread misunderstanding of how humans can come to better understand reality. That is to say, issues such as global warming have been confused by many with an attitude that nothing is really knowable, that all “knowledge” is culturally specific, that therefore humans who believe in the problems of global warming belong to a group who are led by folks who have ulterior and sinister reasons for their belief, etc.
All of this is thus an indirect way of junking the whole scientific method. Put another way, scientists are thought of as just belonging to another group of people who are just as ignorant about “objective” reality as the rest of humanity. Ironically, skeptics of Kuhn accused him of doing just that. In The Essential Tension Kuhn argues that this accusation was based on a horrible misreading of his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions .
My hope is that understanding how something like the Theory of Relativity can be confirmed through further observation and experimentation will develop a new found appreciation for science. The kind of science that Kuhn wrote about.
First up, by way of articles on this topic:
New confirmation of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity
(Phys.org) Albert Einstein predicted that whenever light from a distant star passes by a closer object, gravity acts as a kind of magnifying lens, brightening and bending the distant starlight. Yet, in a 1936 article in the journal Science, he added that because stars are so far apart "there is no hope of observing this phenomenon directly."
Now, an international research team directed by Kailash C. Sahu has done just that, as described in their June 9, 2017 article in Science. The study is believed to be the first report of a particular type of Einstein's "gravitational microlensing" by a star other than the sun.
Read more at: https://phys.org/new...tivity.html#jCp