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In a paper of Scientific American, there is a sentence as follows

Einstein understood early on that they [the gravitational waves] were implied by his theory but for a time backtracked from his original, correct claims for their existence.

I understand the first sentence: "Einstein understood early on that they [the black holes] were implied by his theory", and I think the meaning of the rest should be "but for a time, they were backtracked from his original, correct claims for their existence".

However, I don't understand the meaning of the phrase "but for a time" and "backtrack", therefore I can't understand the whole sentence.

Please explain to me.

English is not my native language, so I beg your pardons for my poor one.

Thanks.

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    "For a time" means that he took some action for some period of time (several years in this case, I think). The action he took was to "backtrack", which means to retrace your steps backwards, such that you return to an earlier location. (Of course, "backtrack" is used figuratively in your quote, as the "steps" involved were conceptual, not physical.) – Hot Licks Jan 12 '16 at 3:49
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The original language works better than "they were backtracked."

Einstein understood early on that they [the black holes] were implied by his theory but for a time backtracked from his original, correct claims.

Einstein is the subject. He is the one who backtracked for a time from his original claims. It is saying that there was a while when Einstein no longer supported what he had said.

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