Today, general relativity is celebrated as Einstein's most impressive work. But as Friedman wrote in his 2001 book, The Politics of Excellence, in post-War Germany Einstein was despised as a pacifist Jew who renounced his German citizenship, went to meetings of radical groups, and publicly supported socialism. His theories were dismissed as "world-bluffing Jewish physics" by some prominent German physicists, who claimed to practice "true" German science based on observations of the natural world and hypotheses that could be tested in a laboratory.
Luckily for Einstein, British astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington believed therewas a way to test the general theory. If massive objects curved space itself, as Einstein proposed, then they should bend nearby rays of light, as well. During six minutes of a total solar eclipse on May 29, 1919, Eddington measured the positions of stars that appeared next to the blotted-out sun. Sure enough, they followed the predictions of Einstein's general theory.
Eddington revealed the results of his eclipse experiment on November 6, and Einstein became a household name throughout the world practically overnight—literally overnight in some places; the next day, the London Times ran the headline, "Revolution in Science, New Theory of the Universe." Within a month, the news traveled through the American press; a New York Times headline declared, "Given the Speed, Time Is Naught."