I read on a blogpost that Lorentz built a mathematical model of gravity, but with an assumption that it arose from electrical origins. I tried googling for more information and could not find anything so I came here instead. thanks for your help

  • $\begingroup$ Not sure about Lorentz, but a more recent theory which suggests an electromagnetic connection is the "Capacitance Theory of Gravity" published 1997: www2.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/MFSpears $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Apr 10, 2023 at 9:00
  • $\begingroup$ Lorentz' papers on general relativity (GR) have been transcribed and added to Wikisource here and here. They deal with an action formalism for GR including electromagnetism. The term "electric gravity" does not appear though. It sounds too modern anyway. $\endgroup$
    – Tom Heinzl
    Apr 12, 2023 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


Before a series of four papers on Einstein's Theory of Gravitation (1917-1918) Lorentz seems to have written only two papers dedicated to the subject of gravity:

(1900) Considerations on gravitation, Proceedings Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen, 2, 559-574.

Quoting opening paragraph -

"After all we have learned in the last twenty or thirty years about the mechanism of electric and magnetic phenomena, it is natural to examine in how far it is possible to account for the force of gravitation by ascribing it to a certain state of the aether. A theory of universal attraction, founded on such an assumption, would take the simplest form if new hypotheses about the aether could be avoided, i.e. if the two states which exist in an electric and a magnetic field, and whose mutual connection is expressed by the well known electromagnetic equations were found sufficient for the purpose."

and (1914) La gravitation, Scientia, 16, 28-59.

I am not sure either of these contains a fully worked out electromagnetic theory of gravitation.

A slight more a ambitious attempt was undertaken by Emil Weichert in 1920 in "Die Graviatation als elektrodymische Erscheinung" (Gravity as an Electrodynamic Phenomenon), but by then such attempts were being completely overshadowed by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.

Before that in 1913 Samuel Bruce Mclaren had attempted an electromagnetic theory of gravitation ("A Theory of Gravity" Phil. Mag. 26, Issue 154, 636-673.), but he died in the First World War so did not develop it any further.

One starting point for your studies might be Russell McCormmach's 1970 paper "H. A. Lorentz and the Electromagnetic View of Nature", Isis, 61, No. 4, 459-497. A pdf of this can be found if you search on Google or Google Scholar.


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