(in relativity) the principle that, in any small region of space-time, the effects of a gravitational field are indistinguishable from those of an appropriate acceleration of the frame of reference.
- Also called Einstein's equivalency principle, principle of equivalence.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use equivalence principle in a sentence
Nuclear clocks could also test a foundation of Einstein’s gravity theory — the equivalence principle.
In confirming Galileo’s gravity experiment yet again, the result upholds the equivalence principle, a foundation of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, general relativity.Galileo’s famous gravity experiment holds up, even with individual atoms | Emily Conover | October 28, 2020 | Science News
The experiment found that the type of atom made no difference to the outcome, perfectly in line with the equivalence principle.The Equivalence Principle and Testing Einstein With Spaceships and Atoms | Matthew R. Francis | June 4, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Scientific definitions for equivalence principle
A principle central to General Relativity stating that a gravitational field is locally indistinguishable from the effects of inertial forces. For example, according to the equivalence principle, it is impossible for someone in a box who experiences a force pushing him to the bottom of the box to know, from the force alone, whether that force is the result of a gravitational field (the box is standing on the surface of a planet) or an acceleration (the box is being pushed by a rocket).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.