Foundations of Physics 29 (2):145-200 (1999)

We show that in 1929 Cartan and Einstein almost produced a theory in which the electromagnetic (EM) field constitutes the time-like 2-form part of the torsion of Finslerian teleparallel connections on pseudo-Riemannian metrics. The primitive state of the theory of these connections would not, and did not, permit Cartan and Einstein to realize how their torsion field equations contained the Maxwell system and how the Finslerian torsion contains the EM field. Cartan and Einstein discussed curvature field equations, though failing to focus on the fact that teleparallelism automatically implies gravitational field equations with torsion terms as source, both in first and second order. We further show that the first-order contribution of the EM field to the source of the gravitational field may play havoc with the remeasurement of Newton's gravitational constant, even if the experiment is electrically grounded. These results are also used as support for the thesis that there is an alternative to the present way of dealing with the great theoretical questions of physics. On the practical side, the inconveniences faced in measuring G may be greatly compensated by the possibility of manipulating spacetime with electric fields at the first-order level
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DOI 10.1023/A:1018840720961
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