Einstein’s Parable In Einstein’s little book Relativity: the Special and the General Theory , he introduces general relativity with a parable. He imagines going into deep space, far away from gravitational fields, where any body moving at steady speed in a straight line will continue in that state for a very long time. He imagines building a space station out there - in his words, “a spacious chest resembling a room with an observer inside who is equipped with apparatus.” Einstein points out that there will be no gravity, the observer will tend to float around inside the room. But now a rope is attached to a hook in the middle of the lid of this “chest” and an unspecified “being” pulls on the rope with a constant force. The chest and its contents, including the observer, accelerate “upwards” at a constant rate. How does all this look to the man in the room? He finds himself moving towards what is now the “floor” and needs to use his leg muscles to stand. If he releases anything, it accelerates towards the floor, and in fact all bodies
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