In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single interwoven continuum. Until the turn of the 20th century, the assumption had been that the 3D geometry of the universe was distinct from time, Einsteins theory was framed in terms of kinematics, and showed how measurements of space and time varied for observers in different reference frames. His theory was an advance over Lorentzs 1904 theory of electromagnetic phenomena. A key feature of this interpretation is the definition of an interval that combines distance. Although measurements of distance and time between events differ among observers, the interval is independent of the inertial frame of reference in which they are recorded. The resultant spacetime came to be known as Minkowski space, non-relativistic classical mechanics treats time as a universal quantity of measurement which is uniform throughout space and which is separate from space. Classical mechanics assumes that time has a constant rate of passage that is independent of the state of motion of an observer, furthermore, it assumes that space is Euclidean, which is to say, it assumes that space follows the geometry of common sense. General relativity, in addition, provides an explanation of how gravitational fields can slow the passage of time for an object as seen by an observer outside the field. Mathematically, spacetime is a manifold, which is to say, by analogy, at small enough scales, a globe appears flat. An extremely large scale factor, c relates distances measured in space with distances measured in time, waves implied the existence of a medium which waved, but attempts to measure the properties of the hypothetical luminiferous aether implied by these experiments provided contradictory results. For example, the Fizeau experiment of 1851 demonstrated that the speed of light in flowing water was less than the speed of light in air plus the speed of the flowing water, the partial aether-dragging implied by this result was in conflict with measurements of stellar aberration. By 1904, Lorentz had expanded his theory such that he had arrived at equations formally identical with those that Einstein were to derive later, but with a fundamentally different interpretation. As a theory of dynamics, his theory assumed actual physical deformations of the constituents of matter. For example, most physicists believed that Lorentz contraction would be detectable by such experiments as the Trouton–Noble experiment or the Experiments of Rayleigh and Brace. However, these negative results, and in his 1904 theory of the electron. Einstein performed his analyses in terms of kinematics rather than dynamics and it would appear that he did not at first think geometrically about spacetime. It was Einsteins former mathematics professor, Hermann Minkowski, who was to provide an interpretation of special relativity. Einstein was initially dismissive of the interpretation of special relativity
Figure 1-4. Hand-colored transparency presented by Minkowski in his 1908 Raum und Zeit lecture.
Figure 5-11. Gravity Probe B confirmed the existence of gravitomagnetism.