To Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, Dr. Jeffrey Bennett’s “Relativity Tour” Reached 10,000+ in 25 Cities
Click here for the story about the tour aired on Denver’s 9News
The year 2015 marked an important milestone in the history of physics: the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (published November 25, 1915), which redefined human understanding of space, time, and gravity. The Einstein Centenary was celebrated as the International Year of Light 2015, and to help build public understanding of relativity and its impact on our lives, astrophysicist/educator Dr. Jeffrey Bennett embarked on a yearlong “relativity tour.” The tour formally opened with three consecutive sold-out shows at Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, then continued to fill theaters with a total live audience of more than 10,000 people in about 25 cities.
Discussing the goals of his tour, Dr. Bennett said, “Most people assume that Einstein’s theory of relativity is beyond their comprehension, so they find it empowering to realize that it’s actually based upon simple ideas that anyone can understand. Moreover, the ideas of relativity change the way we view ourselves as human beings in a vast universe, so learning these ideas opens your mind in new and unexpected ways. I’ve chosen to embark on the tour during this 100th anniversary of general relativity, because I believe it’s time to take Einstein’s ideas out of the realm of obscure science and into the realm of general public consciousness.”
Dr. Bennett’s tour presentation is based on his book What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas and Why They Matter (Columbia University Press, 2014). The topics he covers in a simple and intuitive way include:
- A basic answer to the question “What is Relativity?”
- How Einstein’s theories of relativity underlie nearly all of modern science and technology, including modern electronics, nuclear power, and even your GPS navigation.
- How relativity provides our current understanding of the nature of space, time, and gravity; in other words: “what it means to be a human being, living on a planet that orbits a star in a vast universe.”
- Why “black holes don’t suck” — and what they actually are.
- The mind-bending ideas of time dilation and curvature of spacetime.
- The most famous equation in history: E = mc2.
- Why relativity actually matters to all of us, and how Einstein’s work is a shining example of what human beings can do when they put their minds to work for positive things rather than negative things.
The hour-long presentations assume no prior knowledge of relativity and are suitable for anyone from about middle school age on up. The presentations conclude with an opportunity for audience Q&A.
The 2015 tour is now concluded, though Dr. Bennett will consider special requests to present the talk in the future; if interested, please contact Dr. Bennett directly. Meanwhile, please consider hosting Dr. Bennett for his 2016 tour: Global Warming Demystified; see globalwarmingprimer.com for more details.
And if you missed the Relativity tour, you can still watch the presentation. Two of Dr. Bennett’s lectures were professionally videotaped. Take you pick to watch below:
1. The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture, recorded May 6, 2015 at Foothill College’s Smithwick Theater:
2. Recorded March 6, 2015 at Fiske planetarium in Boulder:
The tour is sponsored by Big Kid Science, Columbia University Press, Fiske Planetarium, and Story Time From Space.