A Conjecture on Einstein, the Independent Reality of Spacetime Coordinate Systems and the Disaster of 1913

In (2005)
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Abstract

Two fundamental errors led Einstein to reject generally covariant gravitational field equations for over two years as he was developing his general theory of relativity. The first is well known in the literature. It was the presumption that weak, static gravitational fields must be spatially flat and a corresponding assumption about his weak field equations. I conjecture that a second hitherto unrecognized error also defeated Einstein's efforts. The same error, months later, allowed the hole argument to convince Einstein that all generally covariant gravitational field equations would be physically uninteresting.

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John D. Norton
University of Pittsburgh