See a recording of Jeff’s relativity tour lecture for the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures (recorded May 6, 2015 at Foothill College’s Smithwick Theater):
See a recording of Jeff’s relativity tour lecture at Fiske planetarium:
This year (2015) marks the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s publication of his general theory of relativity. Today, this theory lies at the foundation of virtually all modern physics and astronomy. It’s no exaggeration to say that you really can’t understand the universe without understanding at least something about Einstein’s work. For example, common questions such as “what is the universe expanding into?” and “what is a black hole?” (and “what is happening in the movie Interstellar?”) cannot be answered without it. On a more practical level, your GPS navigation unit would not work without taking into account the fact that, as general relativity predicts, time runs very slightly faster at the altitudes where GPS satellites orbit than it does here on the ground. (There is a also a time correction from special relativity, due to the orbital speed of the satellites). And turning to the philosophical, relativity suggests a type of permanence to all events that, I believe, might cause people to behave much better if all of us understood it.
For all these reasons, after a full century of general relativity, it seems that it is about time that everyone try to become familiar with what Einstein discovered and why these discoveries matter. Many people are contributing to this effort; indeed, the United Nations has designated this 2015 anniversary as the “International Year of Light.”
For my own part, I have decided to embark on a “relativity tour,” in which I am volunteering to provide public lectures on relativity throughout the United States. The tour has opened with three sold-out shows at Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, CO.
For a list of upcoming events, or to learn more and book an event for your location, please see the details at www.bigkidscience.com/relativity-tour/.