general relativity

General relativity is the theory Einstein developed to reconcile gravity with special relativity. While special relativity accurately describes the laws of physics in inertial reference frames, it does not describe what happens in an accelerated reference frame or gravitational field. Since acceleration and gravity are important parts of our physical world, Einstein recognized that special relativity was an incomplete description and spent the years between 1905 and 1915 developing general relativity. In general relativity, we inhabit a four-dimensional spacetime with a curvature determined by the distribution of matter and energy in space. General relativity makes unique, testable predictions that have been upheld by experimental measurements, including the precession of Mercury's orbit, gravitational lensing, and gravitational time dilation. Other predictions of general relativity, including gravitational waves, have not yet been verified. While there is no direct experimental evidence that conflicts with general relativity, the accepted view is that general relativity is an approximation to a more fundamental theory of gravity that will unify it with the Standard Model. See: gravitational lensing. gravitational time dilation, gravitational wave, precession, spacetime, special relativity, Standard Model.