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ERIC Number: EJ831226
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
Geometry as an Object of Experience: The Missed Debate between Poincare and Einstein
Hacyan, Shahen
European Journal of Physics, v30 n2 p337-343 Mar 2009
According to Poincare, a geometry cannot be an object of experience since any geometrical experiment must be realized with physical objects, such as rulers and light rays, and it is only their properties that can be tested. This position was apparently refuted by general relativity and the successful confirmation of its predictions by astronomical observations, but unfortunately Poincare did not live to defend his point of view. In this paper, Poincare's argument is reconsidered by pointing out that general relativity can also be interpreted as the gauge theory associated with the Lorentz group, as shown by Utiyama in 1956. Utiyama's approach does not rely on any assumption about the geometry of space-time, though the resulting equations are identical to those of general relativity. The purpose of the present paper is to situate general relativity and its principles in a wider historical perspective; it can be of interest to teachers at a specialized level, and to philosophers of science. (Contains 4 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A