General vs Special Relativity: Difference and Comparison

The study of physics has many things possible; in more extensive areas like scientific experiments, technology, and our day-to-day life. It helps us understand many things, appliances, and relations between objects, etc., with or without knowledge.

There are many such theories in the study of physics; Big bang theory, chaos theory, dynamo theory, quantum field theory, relativity theory, etc. are a few examples of theories that have solved such big mysteries and given us knowledge about things happening around us.

Key Takeaways

  1. “General Relativity” describes the relationship between gravity and the geometry of space-time, while “Special Relativity” focuses on the laws of physics being the same for all observers.
  2. “General Relativity” applies to all objects, whereas “Special Relativity” applies only to objects moving at a constant speed in a straight line.
  3. “General Relativity” is a more complex theory compared to “Special Relativity” due to the inclusion of gravity and acceleration.

General Relativity vs. Special Relativity

The difference between general relativity and special relativity is that general relativity is related to gravity and acceleration, whereas special relativity is related to speed and time. General relativity shows the relation between the observer and acceleration, whereas special relativity shows us the connection between the observer and constant speed when in motion.

General Relativity vs Special Relativity

It is known as the geometric theory of gravity. He predicts that the space-time around Earth is wrapped and twisted because of the planet‘s rotation.


Science Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to science

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Which of the following organism breathes from skin?

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DNA carries the instructions for an organism to grow. DNA stands for.....

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After a chemical reaction, the properties of the products are __________.

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Permanent hardness of water may be removed by the addition of

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Which device is used for measuring air pressure?

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Which of the following metals remain in liquid for under normal conditions?

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Balloons are filled with

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Which of the gas is not known as green house gas?

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Acid turns blue litmus paper into which color?

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Special relativity is a theory that shows the relationship between space and time. It states that they are not different notions. It explains how that relationship is linked to objects moving at a constant speed (in a straight line).

Comparison Table

 Parameters of Comparison General Relativity Special Relativity
 what is it General relativity shows the relationship between the observer and the acceleration. Special relativity shows the relation between the observer and the speed and time.
 Inclusion of Gravity  Considers and includes gravity It does not have gravity, as no forces are acting on it.
 Frame of Reference Laws of physics are the same for all the inertial and non-inertial systems The laws of physics are the same for only inertial systems.
 Published in 1915 1905
 Complexity  More complex and covers a more significant part of the universe. Little simpler and covers a lesser amount of the universe.

What is General Relativity?

It is a theory proposed and published by Albert Einstein related to gravity. He says that the space-time around the planet earth is not only twisted but also wrapped because of the planet’s rotation.

When Einstein felt that the theory of special relativity was insufficient in describing the whole universe, he drew the general idea out of it with the help of a particular view.

It explains that space and time are the same but with different characteristics. The gravitation of force in and around the area of the object/observer depends on how curved the space-time is. The energy-momentum of the object’s matter causes the curve.

The equation on the left consists of the amount of mass and energy that distorts space-time and explains how the energy, momentum, group, etc., are distributed in the universe on the right-hand side of the equation. General relativity is said to be a more advanced theory.

general relativity

What is Special Relativity?

It is a scientific theory that Albert Einstein published in 1905; he posted this in a paper titled ‘On the electrodynamics of moving bodies.

Isaac Newton has proposed studied the universe and proposed three laws of the universe before Einstein. But a few things were missing, and the theory was incomplete.  

The speed of light in a vacuum is the same for everything, no matter what or how the motion of the source/ object is. Special relativity explains and shows observers who show movement in constant velocity.

In simple words, the object’s mass becomes infinite when the thing approaches the speed of light. Then it will not be able to go any faster than light’s speed.

special relativity

Main Differences Between General Relativity and Special Relativity

  1. General relativity talks about the curvature in space-time, whereas special relativity does not talk about curves.
  2. General relativity is more complex and covers a more significant part of the universe, whereas special relativity is a little simpler and covers a lesser part.
Difference Between General Relativity and Special Relativity
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