Relativity and its Influence on Scientific Thought

Some time in 1919, Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington was asked whether it was true that only three people in the world understood the general theory of relativity. Apparently he thought for a moment and then asked: “Who's the third?” Depending on your mood, that can sound witty, or arrogant; but either way, once you read his beautiful expositions of Einstein's theory, it is difficult to dispute the truth behind Eddington’s reply.

Arthur Stanley Eddington's expression is crystal clear, and his language is a joy to read. Unfortunately, most of his works are of print, and hence not nearly as widely known as they deserve to be. This year marks the centennial of general relativity, and as my contribution to the celebrations, I compiled an electronic version of the 1922 Romanes Lecture on 'The Theory of Relativity and its Influence on Scientific Thought' that Eddington delivered in Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.