What makes Einstein's theory of general relativity appear simple to some people?  by Steve Baker  Quora Question Review
This document contains a review of the answer by Steve Baker on the question in Quora: "What makes Einstein's theory of general relativity appear simple to some people?"
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https://www.quora.com/WhatmakesEinsteinstheoryofgeneralrelativityappearsimpletosomepeople
 The text in italics is copied from the article.
 Immediate followed by some comments
Contents
Reflection
1. Answer Review







Well, for starters, it may be experience and skillslevel knowledge.

It is definitively more than that

An experienced researcher can write down on the back of an envelope Einstein’s field equations and quickly derive common solutions that might challenge an inexperienced student, such as the Schwarzschild solution for the spherically symmetric, static vacuum case or the Friedmann equations describing a homogeneous and isotropic cosmos.

But these equations by it self don't mean anything



A person wellversed in the theory may also have avoided the pitfalls offered by misleading visualizations, such as the “rubber sheet” analogy of gravitation or the “expanding balloon” picture of cosmic expansion.
These deeply flawed “intuitive” analogies do far more harm than good. They are factually incorrect (and seriously so) and they also imply that general relativity can be intuited, which is truly not the case. Our brains are not wired to visualize relativistic spacetime in which many of the most important effects are not even related to spatial geometry but are the result of time dilation.




And that researcher may also be familiar with quantum field theory, well aware that the seemingly intimidating mathematical machinery of general relativity (e.g., abstract indices, connection coefficients, covariant differentiation, etc.) is just a small part of the much more complex machinery used in, e.g., the building of the Standard Model of particle physics. General relativity seems like child’s play in comparison.




Even so, I’d caution anyone who thinks that general relativity is truly simple. There are way too many pitfalls and intuition is no guide. Even experienced physicists sometimes end up spouting nonsense when they carelessly skip over some important detail. As I said, intuition is no guide (in fact, it is the wrong guide) when it comes to relativity theory and the math is just too easy to mess up.























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Reflection 1  Question Review
The question is: How many people agree with this sentence: "What makes Einstein's theory of general relativity appear simple to some people?".
For some the answer is only three.
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Created: 1 June 2023
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