The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity

Aerial photo of four pairs of hands using different handheld smart devices

Part of Book at Lunchtime, a fortnightly series of bite size book discussions, with commentators from a range of disciplines. Free, all welcome - no booking required.

Join us for a sandwich lunch from 12:45, with discussion from 13:00 to 13:45.

Pedro Ferreira (Professor of Astrophysics, University of Oxford) will discuss his book The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity with:

Javier Lezaun (James Martin Lecturer in Science and Technology Governance, University of Oxford)   
Alex Butterworth (Historian and Author of The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Agents)   
Harvey Brown (Professor of Philosophy of Physics, University of Oxford)   
Xenia de la Ossa (Reader in Mathematics, University of Oxford)

About the book

Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement in modern physics. Anything that involves gravity, the force that powers everything on the largest, hottest or densest of scales, can be explained by it.

From the moment Einstein first proposed the theory in 1915, it was received with enthusiasm yet also with tremendous resistance, and for the following ninety years was the source of a series of feuds, vendettas, ideological battles and persecutions featuring a colourful cast of characters.

A gripping, vividly told story, A Perfect Theory entangles itself with the flashpoints of modern history and is the first complete popular history of the theory, showing how it has informed our understanding of exactly what the universe is made of and how much is still undiscovered: from the work of the giant telescopes in the deserts of Chile to our newest ideas about black holes and the Large Hadron Collider deep under French and Swiss soil.


Humanities & Science

Contact name: Hannah Penny

Contact email:

Audience: Open to all