Hundred Years of General Relativity: A Global Perspective

Abhay Ashtekar

Institute for Gravitation & the Cosmos and Physics Department

The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

A century has passed since Einstein discovered general relativity. The theory represents an unprecedented combination of mathematical elegance, conceptual depth and observational success. While our current view of the cosmos has been shaped by this theory, it is generally not appreciated that we arrived at it slowly, through unexpected twists and turns. Controversies often raged on fundamental issues, and positions held by some of the then most prominent scientists turned out to be on the wrong side of history. A global perspective on 100 years of general relativity provides valuable insights into how diverse forces work in combination even in most the fundamental areas of Science.