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GRG Golden Oldie: The theoretical significance of experimental relativity by R. H. Dicke (1964)

Journal cover: General Relativity and GravitationDicke, R.H., Republication of: The theoretical significance of experimental relativity, Gen Relativ Gravit (2019) 51: 57.

Golden Oldie

First Online: 30 April 2019


This republication consists of the introductory section of “The theoretical significance of experimental relativity” (1964). The material itself appeared first as lectures at a Les Houches school. It played a seminal role in stimulating the now rich field of experimental gravitational physics, by surveying earlier experiments and the current and recent work by Dicke and his group, in particular their improved version of the famous Eötvös experiment, and by analysing their theoretical consequences in detail. Future topics for enquiry were pointed out. The paper has been selected by the Editors of General Relativity and Gravitation for re-publication in the Golden Oldies series of the journal. This republication is accompanied by an editorial note written by P. J. E. Peebles and by a brief biography written by M. A. H. MacCallum.

Editorial Note:

An editorial note (free access) to this paper written by P. J. E. Peebles and a brief biography by M. A. H. MacCallum can be found in this issue preceding this Golden Oldie and online via

Original paper: R. H. Dicke, The theoretical significance of experimental relativity, Gordon and Breach (1964). The book was a reissue of Dicke’s contribution “Experimental relativity” in “Relativity, Groups and Topology” ed. C. DeWitt and B. DeWitt, Blackie and Son (1964), pp. 165–313. Here we have reprinted only the introductory section (pages 1–31 of the book), and not the following appendices.

GRG Golden Oldies:

The Golden Oldies series of the journal General Relativity and Gravitation reprints important papers in general relativity theory that were published 30 or more years ago and are either hard to get hold of, or were originally printed in a language other than English.