Relativity in brief... or in detail..

6. Beyond relativity?

This is a text+animation version of the video chapter 6 from Einsteinlight.

Einstein's theory of gravity is also called relativity: General Relativity. The two relativity theories are fundamental in cosmology, the study of the Universe as a whole. In 2004, NASA launched Gravity Probe B, whose purpose is to decide among types of theories of gravitation. So we may know more about that soon.

Special Relativity has survived the most stringent experimental tests and there is no serious competition for most of its applications. However, at extremely high energies and unimaginably small scales—on what we call the Planck scale —there are suggestions that Relativity might need some adjustments. We don't know yet. Nevertheless, just as we continue to use Newtonian mechanics when speeds are modest, we shall continue to use relativity, no matter what peculiar new results might be discovered.

See also:


Written and presented by Joe Wolfe
School of Physics UNSW, Sydney, Australia.

Production and multimedia by George Hatsidimitris
School of Physics UNSW, Sydney, Australia.

Thanks to

  • Oleg Sushkov, Physics, UNSW (helpful discussions)
  • Mike Gal, Physics, UNSW (photographs in module 5)
  • Gary Keenan, Physics, UNSW (help with demonstrations)
  • Peter Slezak, Arts, UNSW (le collazione con Galileo e altri)
  • Nigel Freeman and Radiation Oncology, Medical Physics, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney (permission to film the accelerator)
  • Iutta and Pedro Waloschek (drawings in module 1)
  • Katherine Stephenson, Stanford University and Lockheed Martin Corporation (photo of Gravity Probe B)

  • Chinese subtitles by Weihong Zheng
  • French subtitles by Emmanuel Bossy
  • German subtitles by Bettina Rosche
  • Italian subtitles by Mardocheo Carbone
  • Japanese subtitles by Tooru Taniguchi
  • Russian subtitles by Oleg Olegovich Sushkov

  • Other languages?*

Joe's Education Page

Home | Summary | Quiz | Credits
School of Physics - The University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia 2052 © School of Physics UNSW 2052