Einstein's redshift derivations: its history from 1907 to 1921
Keywords:Gravitational redshift, Einstein, History of general relativity
Einstein's gravitational redshift derivation in his famous 1916 paper on general relativity seems to be problematic, being mired in what looks like conceptual difficulties or at least contradictions or gaps in his exposition. Was this derivation a blunder? To answer this question, we will consider Einstein’s redshift derivations from his first one in 1907 to the 1921 derivation made in his Princeton lectures on relativity. This will enable to see the unfolding of an interdependent network of concepts and heuristic derivations in which previous ideas inform and condition later developments. The resulting derivations and views on coordinates and clocks are in fact not without inconsistencies. However, we can see these difficulties as an aspect of an evolving network understood as a “work in progress”.