Institute for IDEAS

Institute for Immersive Designs, Experiences, Applications, and Stories

General Relativity

Visualizing general relativity and gravitational waves.

General Relativity

General Relativity is a physics theory proposed by Albert Einstein over 100 years ago. Since then, it has been confirmed in countless experiments. General relativity postulates that mass and energy bends both time and space and that nothing can move faster than roughly 300,000 km/s, which is the speed of light designated by the constant “c”.

While absolutely accepted in the science community, the theory is still difficult to teach to physics undergraduates and the general public. Often, inadequate two-dimensional visualization is used to show how mass influences time and space. In this project, a collaboration between Dr. Eckhardt at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and Dr. Pietroszek at Institute for IDEAS, we visualize the influence of mass on the fabric of spacetime in virtual reality, including time and space.