Abstract

About a year ago in a short note1 I outlined a “New Foundation of General Relativity.” My main point was that the usual postulational approach to general relativity (GR) does not distinguish between the Nordstrom-Einstein-Fokker (NEF) scalar theory and Einstein’s tensor theory. Thus a new postulate had to be added for which I have chosen the “derivability of the equations of motion from the field equations.” Later, I remembered having seen a review (invited talk) of Einstein on the “Present Status of the Problem of Gravitation” which he delivered at the “85. Naturforscherversammlung zu Wien,” in 1913 before a joint meeting of the Divisions of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy and which was published in the same year in the “Physikalische Zeitschrift ”together with the lively discussion which Einstein’s talk generated.2 In his review, Einstein also tried to distinguish between Nordstrom’s second scalar theory (which in 1914 he and Fokker brought into a generally covariant form) and his own (preliminary) tensor theory. I noticed, with some surprise, that Einstein’s argument for favoring his tensor theory was not correct. Nevertheless, his profound intuition led him to the right theory. As Goethe in his “Faust” said,“Der Mensch in seinem dunklen Drange ist sich des rechten Weges wohl bewusst.” Applied to our case, “Einstein in his obscure drive was conscious of the right pathway.”

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