Timeline of gravitational physics and relativity

The following is a timeline of gravitational physics and general relativity.

Before 1500

  • 3rd century BC - Aristarchus of Samos proposes heliocentric model, measures the distance to the Moon and its size


  • 1543 – Nicolaus Copernicus places the Sun at the gravitational center, starting a revolution in science
  • 1583 – Galileo Galilei induces the period relationship of a pendulum from observations (according to later biographer).
  • 1586 – Simon Stevin demonstrates that two objects of different mass accelerate at the same rate when dropped.
  • 1589 – Galileo Galilei describes a hydrostatic balance for measuring specific gravity.
  • 1590 – Galileo Galilei formulates modified Aristotelean theory of motion (later retracted) based on density rather than weight of objects.


  • 1602 – Galileo Galilei conducts experiments on pendulum motion.
  • 1604 – Galileo Galilei conducts experiments with inclined planes and induces the law of falling objects.
  • 1607 – Galileo Galilei arrives a mathematical formulation of the law of falling objects based on his earlier experiments.
  • 1608 – Galileo Galilei discovers the parabolic arc of projectiles through experiment.
  • 1609 – Johannes Kepler describes the motion of planets around the Sun, now known as Kepler's laws of planetary motion.
  • 1640 – Ismaël Bullialdus suggests an inverse-square gravitational force law.
  • 1665 – Isaac Newton introduces an inverse-square universal law of gravitation uniting terrestrial and celestial theories of motion and uses it to predict the orbit of the Moon and the parabolic arc of projectiles.
  • 1684 – Isaac Newton proves that planets moving under an inverse-square force law will obey Kepler's laws
  • 1686 – Isaac Newton uses a fixed length pendulum with weights of varying composition to test the weak equivalence principle to 1 part in 1000







After 1980

See also


  1. Robinson, Ivor; Trautman, A. (1960). "Spherical Gravitational Waves". Physical Review Letters. Cdsads.u-strasbg.fr. 4 (8): 431. Bibcode:1960PhRvL...4..431R. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.4.431. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  2. "Making Waves". TERP. 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2016-11-07.