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What is Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity?

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What is Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity?

Researched and compiled by

Shariq Ali


Imagine you’re on a trampoline. When you stand in the middle, the trampoline curves under your weight. Now, if you roll a ball across the trampoline, it will move towards you, not because you pulled it directly, but because your weight has curved the surface.

General Relativity works similarly. It tells us how gravity isn’t just a force pulling things together, but rather a result of how mass, like planets and stars, bends the “fabric” of space and time. This bending then affects how objects move. The sun, being massive, curves space-time around it, and Earth moves along these curves, which is why it orbits the sun.

Think of space-time as a giant sheet of fabric. This fabric represents the universe. Now, if you place a heavy object, like a bowling ball (representing a star or a planet) on this sheet, it will cause a dip or a curve. Smaller objects, like marbles, will naturally roll towards the bowling ball. In the universe, this curvature of space-time caused by massive objects like stars and planets creates what we experience as gravity.

Now, let’s add a twist. Imagine these objects moving or changing position. As they do, the curves and dips in the fabric shift and change. This is similar to how moving objects in the universe affects the curvature of space-time. When massive objects like stars move, they ‘drag’ space-time with them, affecting the movement of other objects.

This concept is a bit like watching ripples in a pond when you throw a stone in it. The stone creates waves that spread out, affecting the water’s surface. In the universe, moving objects create ‘ripples’ in space-time, and these ripples are what we call gravitational waves.

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