Date of Award
In the early twentieth century Albert Einstein revolutionized humankind's understanding of the universe. Few scientific innovations have had as pervasive an impact as Einstein's Theory of Relativity. His conjectures accounted for scientific phenomena which were otherwise unexplained. With a set of abstract equations, he created unity and consistency among otherwise disconnected entities. He redefined the universe and transformed previous notions about space and time. For the scientific community the Theory of Relativity established a foundation for subsequent developments in physics. It is important to note, however, that the nonscientific community was also profoundly affected by Einstein's theory. Lay people did not comprehend the true scientific importance of the Theory of Relativity. Nevertheless, the popular conception of relativity reintroduced subjectivism and uncertainty into the world of philosophy. Religion, art, and other creative fields were likewise transformed by relativity. The impacts of Einstein's theory are not limited to the early twentieth century nor to the scientific community. Rather, the effects of this breakthrough in science are ubiquitous.
Randall, Shawna Jo, "Everything's Relative: The Theory of Relativity's Influence on Early Twentieth-Century Thought" (1998). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 871.
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Carol A. O'Connor
Departmental Honors Advisor
Penny M. Byrne