Template talk:Relativity

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Changes to list of relativists[edit]

I suggest the following changes to the list of scientists. I present this with caution, because while I am a full-time student of relativity, it is a vast research area, and most of us will know only a tiny portion of it. Historians of relativity would make the best references to consult for this list, if not through direct editing then at least from a published source such as Eisenstaedt's history of relativity.

Suggested removals[edit]

Ordered from stronger to weaker confidence in their removal:

  • Reissner. Is his name here only because of the charged black hole solution? Adding charge to the solutions was neither difficult nor astrophysically relevant (in general), in stark contrast with adding rotation. Admittedly the charged black hole is of conceptual interest. But it already appears in the template, so Reissner's biography need not. (Other names from charged black hole solutions are more justified on other grounds: Nordstrom's rival gravitation theory was significant in the early days, and Newman has done a lot of other work.)
  • van Stockum. Was he prominent? Note his name already appears in the template under his dust solution, which seems more than sufficient
  • Godel. Not a relativist overall, his only relativity work I know of was his cosmological solution. But this solution already appears in the template, so Godel's biography link need not
  • Zwicky. A prominent astrophysicist, but was he an important relativist? Apparently he did work on gravitational lensing which is very important in astrophysics, but there is already a link to that topic. Apparently also he was a pioneer of gravitational collapse, which is extremely important in relativity, so maybe he is deserving of a place on the template --- was this work in relativity specifically?? If he is to remain included, another pioneer of collapse is Oppenheimer.
  • Walker. I am not so familiar with his work. Certainly the FLRW solution is extremely important, but his name already appears there in the template. Fermi-Walker transport is certainly important, but is Walker deserving of the list? (In contrast Robertson is more deserving, to my knowledge; at least he has a great textbook)
  • Taub. I don't know how prominent he was. His name does already appear under the Taub-NUT solution, but I question its appearance in the scientists list.

Restructuring of gravitational-wave experimentalists[edit]

The scientists list includes Hulse and Taylor. But they are famous in relativity for a single thing -- the Hulse-Taylor pulsar -- so why not replace their biographies with this item instead? One possibility is to append it to the gravitational waves link, like: "...waves (Hulse-Taylor binary)...". On they other hand, being Nobel Prize winners is a big deal, though again it is because of that one thing. Similarly I wouldn't have personally added Weiss to the list, but I guess as a theorist I am focused on contributions to the theory, whereas experimentalist physicists may be underappreciated. And again, on the other hand, a Nobel Prize is very significant, so let's keep Weiss. But if these experimentalists/observationalists are to be included in the template, then more deserving are the LIGO (~1200 people at time of writing) and VIRGO detectors/collaborations. Indeed, Thorne and Weiss upon receiving the prize clearly credited the entire collaboration.

As of the 2015/2016 discovery and announcement, gravitational wave detection is a huge area in relativity, so the template needs updating to reflect this.

Possible additions[edit]

Loose ordering from stronger to weaker confidence:

  • Zel'dovich likely deserves a place?
  • Geroch, mathematical relativist
  • Choquet-Bruhat, mathematical relativist
  • what of other Russians like Novikov, or Landau & Lifshitz, etc?
  • mid-1900s experts, e.g. Synge (good textbooks), Trautman, etc?
  • Tolman? -- but at least his name already appears under a specific topic.
  • Carter?
  • Alfred Schild?
  • Bekenstein?

Other living experts. Perhaps more time for historical reflection is needed:

  • Wald. Prominent theorist in numerous areas, likely deserves a listing at some stage
  • Ellis. Leading expert on relativistic cosmology
  • Clifford Will? Leading expert on (theory of) experimental tests
  • Ashtekar?
  • Christodoulou?
  • Bardeen?
  • Philosophers: John Stachel or John Norton?

Colin MacLaurin (talk) 17:10, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

I have now made partial changes as above. Colin MacLaurin (talk) 21:55, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
Ted Newman may deserve to be reinstated on this list. Wald, Ellis, and Ashtekar are very prominent relativists, according to discussions with relativists this week. Colin MacLaurin (talk) 09:47, 6 February 2019 (UTC)