In his Spencer lecture, delivered at Oxford in 1933, Einstein stressed the importance to be accorded to formal beauty:
Experience can of course guide us in our choice of serviceable mathematical concepts; it cannot possibly be the source from which they are derived; experience of course remains the sole criterion of the serviceability of a mathematical construction for physics, but the truly creative principle resides in mathematics.
On the (eventual) experimental confirmation of general relativity:
The first article that correctly derived gravitational waves from the Einstein equations is
In particular this correctly stated that gravitational waves require a quadrupole moment as a source (e.g. a rotating binary star system) and not just a dipole moment (e.g. an oscillating charge) as for electromagnetic waves (the graviton has spin 2, the photon has spin 1…), thereby correcting a mistake to this effect in the earlier article
The reality of gravitational wave solutions however kept being a cause of concern for many years (Einstein himself was concerned that the linearization approximation used in their derivation might have been too coarse), for a brief account of the early history see
Wolfgang Steinicke, Einstein and the Gravitational waves, Astron. Nachr. / AN 326 (2005), No. 7 – Short Contributions AG 2005 Köln (pdf)
Last revised on May 29, 2019 at 13:37:12. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.