The Genesis of General Relativity pp 1272-1287 | Cite as

# A New Theory of Gravitation

Modern physics does not allow forces that propagate with an infinite speed. It does not hold that Newton's law is the true fundamental law of gravitation; rather, it endeavors to obtain this action-at-a-distance law from differential equations attributing a finite speed of propagation to the gravitational force.

A model of such a theory of local action is provided to us by Maxwell's theory of the electromagnetic field. Its fundamental laws are differential equations connecting the electric vector to the magnetic vector. The electromagnetic energy is, according to this theory, distributed throughout the field. When the field changes in time, an energy flow determined by the Poynting vector obtains. If, for example, an electron starts to oscillate, it sends out electromagnetic waves. With the waves the electromagnetic energy flows from the neighborhood of the electron to the initially undisturbed regions of space; this radiation of energy results in the damping of the oscillations of the electron.

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