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Department of Physics

Theoretical Particle Physics and General Relativity :

General relativity (GR) is a theory of gravitation that was developed by Albert Einstein between 1907 and 1915. According to general relativity, the observed gravitational attraction between masses results from those masses warping nearby space and time. Previously, Newton's law of universal gravitation (1686) had described gravity as a force between masses, but experiments have shown that Einstein's description is more accurate. What is more, general relativity predicts interesting new phenomena such as gravitational waves.

General relativity accounts for several effects that are unexplained by Newton's law, such as minute anomalies in the orbits of Mercury and other planets, and it makes numerous predictions – since confirmed – for novel effects of gravity, such as the bending of light and the slowing of time. Although general relativity is not the only relativistic theory of gravity, it is the simplest such theory that is consistent with the experimental data. However, a number of open questions remain: the most fundamental is how general relativity can be reconciled with the laws of quantum physics to produce a complete and self-consistent theory of quantum gravity.