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Thread: If Einstein had died in 1900...

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    If Einstein had died in 1900...

    how long would it have taken us to develop General Relativity, do you think?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    how long would it have taken us to develop General Relativity, do you think?
    The idea was ripe. Someome else would have gotten it quickly. Look at Newton and Liebnitz, Watson and Crick and Pauling, Wilson and Penzias and Fermi, et alias. (Maybe Fermi!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    how long would it have taken us to develop General Relativity, do you think?
    Well, Lorentz and others were very close to establishing special relativity, so that was fairly eminent from what I understand. But the leap to GR was a big one and a couple of steps would not do; an elevator would be needed.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  4. #4
    I kind of had another what if question earlier, What if Feynman or Sagan were around during the age of social media.

    But I think someone else would of come up with it eventually.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    I kind of had another what if question earlier, What if Feynman or Sagan were around during the age of social media.

    But I think someone else would of come up with it eventually.
    They would probably face the same problems and challenges as any of our contemporary science communicators (including coming under scrutiny for mistakes and misbehavior), and probably not be quite as famous given the greater number of channels and other forms of media. But that’s probably too much of a societal question for CQ.
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    I find it interesting that people frequently pick Einstein as the focus of these kinds of questions.

    What about if Louis Pasteur hadn't discovered chirality or invented vaccines? What if Alfred Wegener hadn't come up with plate tectonics? What if Newton hadn't come up with The Calculus and his theory of gravity? What if Lavoisier hadn't come up with his ideas about oxygen and combustion?

    I think these things have a much greater impact on our lives and our world than Relativity.
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    I also wonder why people never turn the question around. For example, what if Robert Smith hadn't been killed as a child in that strange carriage accident. Who is Bob Smith you ask? Well, he would have come up with Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism 30 years before Maxwell did. What effect would that have had on the world?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I also wonder why people never turn the question around. For example, what if Robert Smith hadn't been killed as a child in that strange carriage accident. Who is Bob Smith you ask? Well, he would have come up with Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism 30 years before Maxwell did. What effect would that have had on the world?
    The Difference Engine, in which Charles Babbage's "analytical" and "difference engines" work quite well, thus computerization spreads across the globe in the early 19th century.
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