, Volume 8, Issue 11-12, pp 927-950

Johann Georg von Soldner and the gravitational bending of light, with an English translation of his essay on it published in 1801

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Abstract

Following Einstein's prediction of the gravitational bending of light, and in the course of experimental work aimed at its verification, only sporadic and at times misleading references have been made to Johann Georg von Soldner. In a paper published in 1804, Soldner derived the gravitational bending of light on the classical Newtonian basis and calculated its value around the sun with remarkable accuracy. Soldner's paper, inaccessible even in German, is now presented in English translation and put in the perspective of Soldner's life and the science of his day and ours.