Prof. Fay Dowker - Imperial College London
Inner Space, Outer Space: General Relativity and Human Experience
Our best theory of gravity, General Relativity (GR) is over 100 years old. In the years since its creation, GR has been very successful in explaining the physics of Outer Space: of the solar system, of galaxies,of gravitational waves and of the whole universe on the largest scales that we can observe.
I will give an account of some of the underlying concepts of General Relativity that emphasises something rather different namely their more intuitive aspects. I will appeal to the Inner Space of our conscious perceptions to argue that GR is not just more scientifically accurate but more in tune with our intimate experience than its predecessor theory, Newtonian Gravity. It also has something to say, I believe, about the way we understand the physical world that can have an impact on our views on all aspects of our lives. General Relativity leaves one puzzle unsolved however: how to explain our experience of the passage of time.