Einstein in his own words

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A primer on relativity in Einstein’s own words

Einstein’s general theory of relativity turns 100 this year! Find out more in a special issue from Science.

In its 2 January 1920 issue, Science published a short piece by Albert Einstein describing in plain language the 5-year-old general theory of relativity. Scientists around the world were reconnecting after the horrors of World War I, and general relativity had recently received stunning experimental confirmation when astronomers observed the sun’s gravity bending starlight during a solar eclipse. In his essay, republished from the London Times, Einstein thanked the English scientists who confirmed his theory, explained the basic ideas of special and general relativity, and proposed three tests of general relativity—all of which the theory has now passed. It was Einstein’s first publication in Science; many more would follow.