JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post Part of the series on "Naming Things"
It was very surprising, finding this, the first time that something so familiar as "relativity theory" appeared in its most familiar form. It appears very soon after the publication of the Einstein 1905 paper, a work by Max Planck1 that appeared in the Physikalische Zeitschrift in 1906:
Prior to using the words “postulate” and “principle” associated with relativity (as in "Prinzip der Relativitat”, appearing in the second paragraph of Einstein's June 1905 “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper” in Annalen der Physik) it is first referred to as “relativity theory” (“Relativtheorie”) by Max Planck on p. 756 (col 2 line 9 and also on pp 758+759) of this volume. Then in the “discussion” part of the Planck paper the“theory of relativity” (“Einsteinische Relativitatstheorie”) appears for the first time in print just a few pages later (p. 760 col 2 line 15) by Alfred Bucherer.
And there it is.
1. Max Planck, "Die Kaufmannschen Messungen der Ablenkbarkeit der β-Strahlen in ihrer Bedeutung für die Dynamik der Elektronen" [The Measurements of Kaufmann on the Deflectability of β-Rays in their Importance for the Dynamics of the Electrons],Physikalische Zeitschrift in 1906, volume VII, the paper occupying pp 753-761 (printed in double columns), printed in Leipzig by S. Hirzel. There are other papers of relativity in VII including Wacker (p 300), Farkas (p 654), Stark (p 353), and Wilkens (p. 846).
- “The term "theory of relativity" was based on the expression "relative theory" (German: Relativtheorie) used in 1906 by Planck, who emphasized how the theory uses the principle of relativity. In the discussion section of the same paper, Alfred Bucherer used for the first time the expression "theory of relativity" (German: Relativitätstheorie).”--Wikipedia