Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between General Relativity and Special Relativity


Relativity: Relativity can be described as the study that highlights about how several observers estimate the same event. The word relativity might conjure with the likeness of Einstein, but the concept did not originate from him.

The concept of relativity has been under investigation for many centuries. Classical relativity was clearly explained by Galileo and Newton and “Theory of relativity” or “simply relativity” was given by Albert Einstein and generally refers to two theories “Special Theory of Relativity’ of 1905 and “General Theory of Relativity” of 1916. Modern Physics is based on the theory of relativity. These theories are of utmost significance as they are widely used in nuclear physics, astronomy and cosmology. 

Special relativity throws light on the observers who are showing movement at constant velocity and General relativity focusses on observers who are experiencing acceleration. Einstein made a name in the world of physics because his theories of relativity made revolutionary forecasts. Most importantly, his theories have been substantiated to correctness in a wide range of experiments, modifying forever our explanation of space and time. 

What are Special relativity and General relativity?

Special relativity

According to the theory of special relativity, all laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames (frame of reference that shows movement with constant velocity relatively with an inertial set up is called inertial frame). As per the theory of Special Relativity, space and time are not different notions.

If an object is brought into motion relative to another, the time is a blend of space and time. That means, the events which are considered as simultaneous by one observer may not be considered as simultaneous by another observer moving in relation to the first.

Special relativity details about the scientific laws remaining same irrespective of their location or the direction in which these laws are moving in the absence of gravitation. It is relatively easy to take care of relativity with respect to space-time coordinate.

In the theory of special relativity, only flat space-time is dealt. In combination with several laws of physics, the two postulates of theory special relativity anticipate that mass and energy are equal, as explaned in the mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2, where c is the speed of light in a vacuum.

General relativity

The “General Theory of Relativity’ is related to gravity. It describes gravitational force as continuous non-spatial whole of space and time. The general theory of relativity is considered as more advanced and is widely applicable special theory of relativity.

The theory of General Relativity was published in 1916 and has been drawn from the theory of special relativity. The theory of General Relativity was developed by Einstein when he felt that the theory of Special Relativity was insufficient to describe the whole universe.

The difference between the two theories is that the theory of general relativity throws light on the force of gravity with respect to curving four-dimensional space-time. As per Einstein, the accelerative and gravitational forces are equal and same. His findings and written document also states that all physical laws can be formulated so as to be well-founded and logical for any observer, regardless of the observer’s movement.


As per the theory of general relativity, there is nothing that can travel faster that the rate and speed at which light travels. However, the force of gravity or the gravitational pull between two different objects would be stronger in the advent of the objects being closer to each other. The explanation is that if we move far away or we move closer together, the change in the attraction is expeditious. This theory of general relativity also explains a much wider case of space-times and emphasizes that laws of physics are the same in all reference frames.

The general relativity concept ensures that we work on gravity to define a local Lorentz frame along with the equivalence principle as well as the principle of general relativity.

The general theory of relativity is given as: The equation tells us how a given amount of mass and energy distorts space-time. The left-hand side of the equation,

describes the curvature of space-time whose influence we recognize as the gravitational force. It’s the analogue of the term  on the left-hand side of Newton’s equation. The term  on right-hand side of the equation explains about the way mass, energy, momentum and pressure are distributed throughout the Universe

Summary:General Relativity vs Special Relativity


The points of difference between the theory of special re lativity and general relativity have been summarized below:

Special Relativity

General Relativity

Special relativity theory was announced in 1916 General relativity theory was announced in 1916
Velocity differences between inertial frames Acceleration differences between non-inertial frames
Special relativity explains that there are some events and things that can look different to people in different locations or in motion at different speeds- other than the things that involve the speed of light in a vacuum. Things that are moving at the speed of light will always move at the speed of light in comparison to you, regardless how fast you are showing your movement. General relativity throws light on the fact that space and time are actually different characteristic of the same thing–space-time–and that space-time is curved. How much is the curved space-time at any point in the universe will depend on how much the gravitational force is present in that area. In addition to twisting space-time, gravity is also capable of warping light, radio waves, and several other things.
Kinetic Energy statesEscape velocity = Gravity Potential Energy statesAcceleration = Gravity
E = mc2
Simple, not detailed and did not cover the whole universe. Complex, comprehensive and covered greater part of the universe


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  1. Dear Dr….,

    Please to visit in my web site ‘ http://www.timeflow.org ‘ And Please can you test my ‘Time Flow’ Formula? Many Thanks.


    Salih Kırcalar

  2. Dear Dr….,

    Very small free roaming particles lifetime very short.[free photons, free notron, free proton,free
    electron ,vs].And their lifetime is its energy Mc2. Protons are observed to be stable and their theoretical minimum half-life is 1×10’36 years.Grand unified theories generally predict. That proton
    decay should take place, although experiments so far have only resulted in a lower limit 10’35 years for proton’s lifetime. I see that. The earth lifetime is its Mc’2 energy. When this is calculated
    the lifetime of earth.

    Earth Mass= 5.97×10’24 kg. the lifetime 1 kg of mass in space is 2851927903,26 years.

    Earth Lifetime is 1.7×10’34 years. I think that, this is a very interesting result.

    Best regarts
    Salih Kırcalar

  3. Thank you very much.However request you to elaborate in table form.

  4. What is the relationship between space time and gravity. And why can’t something go faster than speed if light..

  5. “Summary
    1. In special relativity gravity we cannot treat gravity in.”

    What the heck does that mean?

  6. Composition of the vector : Free fall

    Vector of gravity and inertial force is possible to compose. It seems to show that the two are inviolable and non-interference each other (it will be the same on two gravity). It will be the same also on vector of gravity and inertial force that act at an optional point of an elevator cabin in free fall.

    Sorry, I cannot receive E-mail. I do not have PC.

  7. Equivalence Principle

    Let’s start from accelerated motion. Many substances (solids, fluids, etc) are moving in various accelerated motion. According to this motion, inertial force occurs. Imagine water of a current. Involvement between inertial force and gravity will be on resultant force only.《P.S.》Acceleration is not relative and inertial force is not fictitious. The two are corresponding qualitatively and quantitatively.

    Sorry, I cannot receive E-mail. I do not have PC.

  8. Equivalence principle

    Situation setting of free fall requests the existence of inertial force and gravity. Newton’s two laws each guarantees. It is possible that at a point of structure of an elevator, resultant force of the two forces disappears. But it is like a number 777. It will not be the subject of argument.

    Sorry, I cannot receive E-mail. I do not have PC.

  9. Gravitational acceleration

    Who started to say gravitational acceleration ? Is it a technical term really ? It seems to be an adjective.

    Is there a difference between an acceleration caused by an ordinal force ? If there is not a difference, a thing called gravitational acceleration will not exist.

  10. Turn your eyes to accelerated motion and inertial force. It does not matter what gravity is.

  11. Free fall

    Are the two indistinguishable? Vector of the two are opposite.

  12. Was the Special Relativity not published in 1905?

  13. Eddington experiment (on solar eclipce : 1919)

    Eddington experiment is said to find the bending of star light by gravity of the sun. But the additional exam seems not to be done. Surface gravity of the sun is 28.02g and that of Jupiter is 2.53g. Gravity of position apart from each surface (at each radius) is a quater of surface gravity each. Experiment of Jupiter will be possible.

  14. Perihelion shift of Mercury (I say again)

    In an binary system (formed by main star and companion star), periapis is shifted also. Motion of companion star (apsidal shift) will be depending considerably on its size (mass is supposed to be the same). Common view (says main cause is pertubation of other planets) will be invalid.

  15. 1905. Not in same year as general theory….

  16. Perihelion Shift of Mercury (repost)

    Size of Sun relative to Mercury will be main cause of this problem (however, will be incompatible with Newton’s spherical shell theorem).

    There are two drawings in which Mercury and gravity source (considered as a point) are drawn. In one drawing, gravity source is Sun and its mass is m. Distance from Mercury is 100. In the other drawing, there are two alternative gravity sources to the sun, Mass is m / 2 each. Distance from Mercury is 99 and 101(aligned on a straight line extending from Mercury). Magnitude of the gravity acting on Mercury is the latter > the former. It can be ignored on Neptune.

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References :

[0]Einstein, A. (2015). Relativity: The special and the general theory. Princeton University Press.

[1]Carmeli, M. (2008). Special relativity theory. In Relativity: Modern Large-Scale Spacetime Structure of the Cosmos (pp. 1-49).

[2]Sauer, T. (2004). Albert Einstein's 1916 Review Article on General Relativity. arXiv preprint physics/0405066.

[3]Serway, R. A., Beichner, R. J., & Jewett, J. W. (2000). Physics for scientists and engineers with modern physics.

[4]By Spiros1976 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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