Clifford’s attempt to test his gravitation hypothesis

S. Galindo, Jorge L. Cervantes-Cota


Almost half a century before Einstein expounded his general theory of relativity, the English mathematicianWilliam Kingdon Clifford argued that space might not be Euclidean and proposed that matter is nothing but a small distortion in that spatial curvature. He further proposed that matter in motion is not more than the simple variation in space of this distortion. In this work, we conjecture that Clifford went further than his aforementioned proposals, as he tried to show that matter effectively curves space. For this purpose he made an unsuccessful observation on the change of the plane of polarization of the skylight during the solar eclipse of December 22, 1870 in Sicily.


W.K. Clifford; test of gravitational theories; history of gravitation; history of general relativity.

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Revista Mexicana de Física E

ISSN: 1870-3542

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