Thursday, 18 August, 2022
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Piyush Goyal, it was Isaac Newton & not Albert Einstein who discovered gravity

Piyush Goyal, seeking to undermine concerns about economic slowdown, said 'don’t get into those maths. Those maths have never helped Einstein discover gravity'.

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Bengaluru: Union Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal drew a bizarre analogy Thursday as he sought to undermine concerns about the economic slowdown.

As he offered his remarks at a meeting, Goyal said it wasn’t maths that had “helped Einstein discover gravity”. His comment goes against the accuracy meter on many counts.

Statement: Mathematics did not help Einstein discover gravity.

Who said it: Minister of Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal.

Full statement: “Don’t get into the maths that you see on television. Oh, if you look at a five-trillion economy, the country will have to grow at 12 per cent. Today it is growing at 6-7 per cent. Don’t get into those maths. Those maths [sic] have never helped Einstein discover gravity. If he had only gone by structured formulae and what was past knowledge, I don’t think there would have been any innovation in this world.”

Accuracy meter: 0/5

Explanation: Albert Einstein did not discover gravity. Isaac Newton did around 200 years before Einstein was even born. Einstein is actually famous for his general theory of relativity.

Additionally, both Newton’s and Einstein’s work is built on mathematics, which is often called the language of science. It is only when theories are mathematically explained and observations replicated can it be concluded that an important scientific discovery is made and demonstrated.

While the minister’s intention seems to be to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, he erroneously attributes Einstein’s newer theories as being independent of classic Newtonian physics.

On the contrary, Einstein identified inadequacies in existing Newtonian physics and built on top of it to reconcile classical laws of gravity with laws of electromagnetism.

Furthermore, Newtonian mechanics is just as applicable as Einstein’s relativity is, only under different circumstances. Einstein’s equations do not supersede Newton’s completely, as the minister’s implication seems to be about using maths in economics.

Also read: Millennials’ preference for Ola, Uber added to auto sector slowdown: Nirmala Sitharaman


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  1. What Mr. Goyal perhaps wanted to say that with all the mathematics at his command, ultimately fall of an apple helped Newton to state the law gravity. With slip of a tongue he took name of Einstein . All know that Einstein improved upon law of gravity by putting forth Law of Relativity. So he might have wrongly connected Einstein’s name in the remark. It must be appreciated that even with slip of tongue, he did not mention name of any Hollywood actor but took name of another scientist instead.

  2. Isaac Newton didn’t discover gravity. We all knew it existed long before. He was simply one of the first in recent times to come up with a formula that describes it. Even today nobody can tell you exactly what gravity is only how it works.

  3. Mr. Piyush Goyal please don’t speak this man today Einstein Theory of general relativity (i.e gravitational theory) is the most accurate theory and Newtonian gravity doesn’t work at all. My dear don’t give the statements by reading physics of class 9 and I would like to say that the mathematics used by Einstein was modern pure mathematics which Newton would never has thought of . The math which you are talking about is statistics and pure mathematics is way beyond that which will blow your mind.

  4. Einstein did not use arithmetics which school children and chartered accountants like Piyush Goel use. The math Einstein used even Sir Issac Newton would have failed to understand. The ISRO scientists like Dr Sivan etc who, in our today’s fancy, personify the epitome of brilliance wouldn’t know even the ABC of Einstein’s General theory of Relativity as part of their mandatory knowledge. Albert Einstein used a mathematical tool called the TENSORS to elucidate his concept of gravitation, and TENSORS are not a regular part of a standard engineering or physics courses taught in our colleges. One has to specially choose this very difficult subject. Einstein’s genius was so startling that even God would have got surprised, “hey! How did this fellow figure out My great secret?!” Now don’t expect me to tell you more, because even I don’t understand Einstein’s theory of Gravitation.

      • Hahaha, holy warrior or unholy saint, yes I know a little bit of physics, but not enough to be able to brag about it. But this much I know for sure, in his 1915 paper Einstein gave his famous equations of gravitation on his ow, without saying that some Mr Hilbert or Dilbert had derived them for him.

  5. It is important to understand the context and intent behind the statement or example used unless intention is to find somehow any fault and start trolling. In any case, many mathematical concepts underlying Einstein’s theory were rigorously proved only by 1930s, though he propounded his theory much before.

  6. Everybody slips once in a while , the minister seems to have been suggesting to not take the present nos seriously and be optimistic ,so that we can emerge from the present slowdown.

    • Bhai Sahab to shopkeeper: Please give me 3 liters of milk
      Shopkeeper: Only 150 rs and here’s your 1 liter of milk
      Bhai Sahab: What? I asked for 3 liters! You are giving only 1 liter but charging for full quantity !!
      Shopkeeper: Please don’t act like an intellectual! Why are you interested in accuracy?

  7. He’s right. Newton’s laws are defunct post general relativity. He’s also right in that he got to the essence of it without mathematics. It was a revelation he later gave description to using mathematics. I’d expect The Print to do more research into before putting out these explainers

    • Newton’s equation are an approximation of general relativity that works well for distances from the atomic to galaxy level. So, they did not become defunct.

      Secondly, mathematics is intrinsic to general relativity as it explains gravity as a curvature of space-time. Please don’t comment on what you don’t know.

      • He explained GenRel using maths. He didn’t discover it using maths. The point is quite subtle.

        Newton’s laws are NOT approximation of genrel. It doesn’t work even to explain orbits of planets around the sun (look up the problem with Mercury’s orbit). In any case Newton’s laws help calculate path of a few planets. Crucially his laws don’t explain what gravity actually is. Genrel explains what gravity is

  8. When the command from the top is to get the ridicule about the state of Economics stopped, you do the best you know how. Some you lose, some you gain. Life…..

  9. And to add Einstein General relativity is better theory than Newton’s gravity theory which has a limited scope compared to the Einstein’s theory.

  10. I think this article is uncalled for. In this statement Goyal is not saying about Einstein discovering the gravity. He is talking about the math never helping Einstein to discover gravity. It’s not a factually wrong statement. Einstein got his insight without the mathematical formalism being ready to develop his General Theory of Relativity. In fact it was Hilbert who wrote the Einstein field equations and famously joked about Einstein lack of understanding the differential geometry.

  11. SANDHYA RAMESH mind seems to working like a CV scanner that seeks key words without understanding the text. Author’s preprogrammed mind failed to understand what Piyush Goyal has conveyed. This article is a perfect example of how journalists with closed mind receive and distort information.

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