Why is the theory of relativity «just the theory»?


Quite often, readers send me questions to the email address in the description of the channel or directly in a personal in Telegraph. I recently sent me the following question:

This is a very good question showing one of the biggest misconceptions concerning not only physics, but also the whole science as a whole. In everyday communication, the word «theory» means some non-confirmed idea or guess, but in science, a completely different word is used to designate unconfirmed ideas or guesses —

The hypothesis is an idea that needs checking. The theory is a system of knowledge that explains the nature of a phenomenon. When a person far from science exclaims «this is just the theory,» in fact he demonstrates the incomprehension of the meaning of the word «theory» in science.

When Einstein suggested that time in different reference systems flows on different things was only

It should be understood that no theory is unshakable and absolute fact. Facts are, for example, the results of observations and experiments. The theory can be supplemented or improved as new knowledge discoveries, and maybe another one. This has repeatedly happened in the history of science and in particular in the history of physics.

For example, the Newtonian theory of gravity was replaced by the theory of relativity, since the theory of relativity gave more accurate predictions better consistent with observations. For example, the displacement of the perihelion of the orbit of Mercury is not explained by Newton’s theory and is excellent explained by the theory of relativity.

An explanation of the gravity by the revitalization of space-time is consistent with observations and allows you to make accurate predictions of the movement of the celestial bodies and spacecraft, device and origin of the universe, etc .. Therefore, the theory of relativity is of great practical importance. There is no other theory at the moment, which would be so well described the entire set of observed phenomena.

In this case, the theory of relativity is inconsistent with quantum mechanics that describes the phenomena on the micro level. Thus, no doubt the theory of relativity in the future will be replaced by a single theory that reconciles with each other quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. This theory is called the «theory of all», and we have a «single field theory».

Therefore, the theory of relativity is a knowledge system very well explaining how gravity works. However, as any other theory, the theory of relativity can be clarified and revised. Moreover, it will most likely be revised when «single field theory» will be developed and experimentally confirmed.