Belated decision in the Hilbert-Einstein priority dispute

Leo Corry, Jürgen Renn, John Stachel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to the commonly accepted view, David Hilbert completed the general theory of relativity at least 5 days before Albert Einstein submitted his conclusive paper on this theory on 25 November 1915. Hilbert's article, bearing the date of submission 20 November 1915 but published only on 31 March 1916, presents a generally covariant theory of gravitation, including field equations essentially equivalent to those in Einstein's paper. A close analysis of archival material reveals that Hilbert did not anticipate Einstein. The first set of proofs of Hilbert's paper shows that the theory he originally submitted is not generally covariant and does not include the explicit form of the field equations of general relativity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1270-1273
Number of pages4
Issue number5341
StatePublished - 14 Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes


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