Gravity and absolute space. The works of Niels Bjern (1865-1909)
N.I. Lobachevskii Nizhnii Novgorod State University, prosp. Gagarina 23, Nizhnii Novgorod, Russian Federation
Nearly 20 years before Einstein, Niels Bjern developed a theory of gravity based on what is today known as the equivalence principle — but naturally without invoking the ideas of the special relativity theory. Bjern predicted almost all the effects considered to be tests for general relativity, his calculation formulas for the effects being identical to those of general relativity. An advocate of the absolute space concept, Bjern described the gravitational field in terms of the field of absolute velocities of an inertial space. He only used the ideas of general relativity to describe the precession of the perihelion of Mercury. The reason why Bjern’s predictions and those of general relativity are identical is discussed.