General Relativity and Gravitation

, Volume 39, Issue 11, pp 1735–1748

On the history of the so-called Lense-Thirring effect

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10714-007-0521-4

Cite this article as:
Pfister, H. Gen Relativ Gravit (2007) 39: 1735. doi:10.1007/s10714-007-0521-4


Some historical documents, especially the Einstein–Besso manuscript from 1913, an extensive notebook by H. Thirring from 1917, and the correspondence between Thirring and Einstein in the year 1917 reveal that most of the merit for the so-called Lense-Thirring effect of general relativity belongs to Einstein. Besides telling this “central story” of the effect, we give a short “prehistory”, with contributions by E. Mach, B. and I. Friedlaender, and A. Föppl, followed by the later history of the problem of a correct centrifugal force inside a rotating mass shell, which was resolved only relatively recently.


Lense-Thirring effectDraggingCoriolis forceCentrifugal forceMach’s principle

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Theoretische PhysikUniversität TübingenTübingenGermany