Lyceum Society: The Four-Dimensional Prostitute and Other True Stories
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Preseted by the Lyceum Society
Speaker: Richard Tourin, former head of the Engineering Section
Albert Einstein, undoubtedly a great scientist, also had a colorful personality. His life story is full of breathtaking physics insights as well as legends, some of them true stories. Einstein is best known for his theories of relativity; he first published the special theory of relativity in 1905. Although the special theory is simple, it was not widely accepted for many years because it entailed a drastic revision of traditional ideas about space and time.
Uncertainty about the validity of relativity theory became immensely more complicated following Einstein's publication of the general theory of relativity in 1915, with its difficult mathematics and its sensational verification in the solar eclipse observations of 1919. That situation confused many scientists at the time, including the Nobel Prize committee, and stimulated a flood of essays and stories. Richard Tourin will review a few stories, including two from his own experience.
Einstein's Major Contributions Define Physics in the Twentieth Century
*Timeline compiled by Lee Grodzins, MIT professor emeritus of physics.