- The painting of the Einstein field equation on the front wall of Museum Boerhaave is now upgraded with an illustration. Last November, the equation was officially launched as the first of ten formulas that will be painted on walls around the Leiden city center, alongside the already existing wall poems.
On the illustration, we see light from a distant object traveling to Earth. Along the way it is bent by the curved spacetime around the Sun. This is exactly what the Einstein field equation tells us; mass and energy manifest themselves through gravity by curving spacetime in its vicinity. In 1919, the corresponding general theory of relativity was tested using the Sun as a laboratory, in a similar setup as the illustration depicts. During a solar eclipse, Arthur Eddington measured the position of the Hyades star cluster, which was in the same place on the sky at that moment. If massive objects bend spacetime, and starlight consequently follows a curved path around them, then the Hyades cluster should be visible at a slightly different position, as its light passes through spacetime close to the Sun. And indeed, this is what Eddington measured, producing the first experimental evidence of Einstein’s theory of general relativity and his field equations.
Publ. 03-06-2016 12:50