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equivalence principle

noun, Physics.
(in relativity) the principle that, in any small region of space-time, the effects of a gravitational field are indistinguishable from those of an appropriate acceleration of the frame of reference.
Also called Einstein's equivalency principle, principle of equivalence.
Origin of equivalence principle
1915-20 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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equivalence-principle in Science
equivalence principle
A principle central to General Relativity stating that a gravitational field is locally indistinguishable from the effects of inertial forces. For example, according to the equivalence principle, it is impossible for someone in a box who experiences a force pushing him to the bottom of the box to know, from the force alone, whether that force is the result of a gravitational field (the box is standing on the surface of a planet) or an acceleration (the box is being pushed by a rocket).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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