Einstein and Hilbert’s Relativity Race
Who generalized relativity first, Einstein or Hilbert?
The published version of a talk by mathematician David Hilbert (1862-1943), dated the 20th of November 1915 is entitled ‘Die Grundlagen der Physik’ (“On the Foundations of Physics”). It was held five days before Einstein’s momentous paper ‘Die Feldgleichungen der Gravitation’ (“The Field Equations of General Relativity”) establishing the mathematical foundation for general relativity. Hilbert’s talk presented a theory of gravitation including field equations describing the fundamental interactions of gravity as a result of spacetime being curved by mass and energy. It was eventually published on the 31st of March 1916.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) had by November of 1915 been working on the theory of general relativity since his publication of the first paper on special relativity in 1905. However, it would take him ten years to generalize the theory so that it would relate the curvature of spacetime to the energy and mom…