Danby, J. M. A. Department of Mathematics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Mashhoon, Bahram Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
Safko, John L. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
Last reviewed:May 2017
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- Newton's law of gravitation
- Gravitational constant
- Mass and weight
- Gravitational potential energy
- Application of Newton's law
- Accuracy of Newtonian gravitation
- Gravitational lens
- Testing of gravitational theories
- Relativistic theories
- Principle of equivalence
- Classical tests
- Mach's principle
- Brans-Dicke theory
- Gravitational waves
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The mutual attraction between all masses and particles of matter in the universe. In a sense this is one of the best-known physical phenomena. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries gravitational astronomy, based on Newton's laws, attracted many of the leading mathematicians and was brought to such a pitch that it seemed that only extra numerical refinements would be needed in order to account in detail for the motions of all celestial bodies. In the twentieth century, however, Albert Einstein with his general theory of relativity and the concurrent development of quantum mechanics shattered this complacency (Fig. 1). The subject is currently in a healthy state of flux.
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