How and why are scientific theories accepted?

Stephen Brush:

November 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. This theory is one of many pivotal scientific discoveries that would drastically influence our understanding of the world around us. But how, and why, are these theories accepted – first by the scientific community, and then by the general public? To find out, let’s use Einstein’s relativity as a case study to examine how the theory was ultimately accepted and how scientists have made 20th century science as we know it today.