World Year of Physics: Beyond Einstein

By cjohnson | December 1, 2005 9:49 am

I’ve just heard* that there’s a 12-hour live webcast from CERN on Einstein’s theory of Relativity. There’s lots to see, and it is on now!

From the press release:

This unprecedented event will be broadcast live on the Internet from a webcast studio in the CERN Globe of Science and Innovation. Similar locations around the world are connected via Tandberg videoconference: the Telecom Future Centre (Venice), Imperial College London, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Chicago), the Exploratorium (San Francisco) hosting scientists from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the Bloomfield Science Museum (Jerusalem) and the National Science Education Centre (Taipei).

From the seven main platforms, internauts will be taken on a world tour to other physics laboratories and science museums visiting virtually all the time zones of the planet, from Europe to America, from Asia to Tasmania and as far south as Antarctica.

The programme includes subjects such as relativity, gravitational waves, mass and gravity, antimatter and neutrinos, along with the mysteries remaining in Einstein’s physics, and the technologies derived from it. A global audience will be able to discuss the impact of Einstein’s discoveries and look beyond them with top-level physicists such as Stephen Hawking and Paul Davies, and with physics Nobel laureates David Gross, Murray Gell-Mann and Gerard ‘t Hooft, connected from the 2005 Solvay physics Conference in Brussels (17:10 CET).

Einstein was also a refugee, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will discuss the positive contribution refugees can make to their society of adoption.

Peter Kirstein from University College London, who was instrumental in the Internet’s early evolution, will be joined by fellow Internet pioneer Bob Kahn, and Robert Cailliau who played a key role at the birth of the Web, to explore the role that basic science plays in the evolution of information technology.

Nobel laureate Leon Lederman will host a show live from Fermilab, featuring interviews with young physicists, fun physics demonstrations and live music (21:00 CET).

Other highlights include the award ceremony of the Pirelli Relativity Challenge from the Telecom Future Centre in Venice (15:30 CET), and an online quiz for 15 to 19 year-olds. Based on three top mysteries stemming from Einstein’s theories, this competition will offer Apple iBook and Apple iPod prizes to the winners.


(*Thanks Ed Copeland!)

  • Urbano

    I was checking it “on the background” while working, and they were talking to the winners of the Pirelli Relativity Challenge (discussed more or less one year ago, e.g., here and here). Essentially all the works presented were videos, and they have broadcasted the winner (about 5-6 minutes), and some collected scenes of some others.

    The broadcasting seems extremely well organized, with the program of the following hours, etc. Worth (at least) having a look.

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  • Chris W.

    I just caught a few seconds, which was about as engaging as an industrial training film from the 1950s. I hope that sample represents a low point of the webcast.

  • Dissident

    Watching/listening to it with half an eye/ear. Everybody in it seems to have an Italian accent. Capisce?

  • Dissident

    OK, so now I’ve learned that Fermilab theorists don’t know about Poincare recurrencies…

  • Science

    It’s just pop singers now, but the screen says that in 20 minutes (at 22.49 Geneva time) it will have Paul Davies in Australia explaining time travel!

    Templeton Foundation awarded PCW Davies $1M for religion, after Davies, a physics professor, wrote a lot of popular books about the beauty of mysterious and unexplained equations. The award ceremony was in a London cathedral.

    In 1995, physicist Davies wrote on pp54-57 of his book ‘About Time’:

    ‘Whenever I read dissenting views of time, I cannot help thinking of Herbert Dingle… who wrote … Relativity for All, published in 1922. He became Professor … at University College London… In his later years, Dingle began seriously to doubt Einstein’s concept … Dingle … wrote papers for journals pointing out Einstein’s errors and had them rejected … In October 1971, J.C. Hafele [used atomic clocks to defend Einstein] … You can’t get much closer to Dingle’s ‘everyday’ language than that.’

    Now, let’s check out J.C. Hafele.

    J. C. Hafele writes in Science vol. 177 (1972) pp 166-8 that he uses G. Builder (1958) as analysis for the atomic clocks.

    G. Builder (1958) is an article called ‘ETHER AND RELATIVITY’ in Australian Journal of Physics, v11, 1958, p279, which states:

    ‘… we conclude that the relative retardation of clocks… does indeed compel us to recognise the CAUSAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ABSOLUTE velocities.’

    Just to remind ourselves of what Einstein and his verifier Sir Arthur Eddington wrote on this:

    ‘The special theory of relativity … does not extend to non-uniform motion … The laws of physics must be of such a nature that they apply to systems of reference in any kind of motion. Along this road we arrive at an extension of the postulate of relativity….’ — Albert Einstein, ‘The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity’, Annalen der Physik, v49, 1916.

    ‘The Michelson-Morley experiment has thus failed to detect our motion through the aether, because the effect looked for — the delay of one of the light waves — is exactly compensated by an automatic contraction of the matter forming the apparatus…. The great stumbing-block for a philosophy which denies absolute space is the experimental detection of absolute rotation.’ — A.S. Eddington, Space Time and Gravitation, Cambridge, 1921, pp. 20, 152.

    So the contraction of the Michelson-Morley instrument made it fail to detect absolute motion. This is why special relativity needs replacement with a causal general relativity. I wonder whether Davies will admit the trith about time travel?

  • Dissident

    Science, did you catch that Pirelli video on special relativity? If there isn’t an award for utterly confusing “popularization”, we just HAVE to invent one now! That thing makes Kaku look like a paragon of stringent clarity.

  • Science

    No, thankfully I missed it! Saves me tearing my hair out.

    Davies has just explained how we can use wormholes to travel through spacetime. We grab hold of a spontaneously occurring wormhole in the quantum foam (20 orders of magnitude smaller than an atom) and simply stretch it out until its big enough to take Jodie Foster as in the film Stargate, Davies says. (While we’re testing that prediction in the lab, we may as well verify ESP and keep a watch out for passing UFOs, gravitons and strings.)

  • Frank

    Davies doesn’t know his sci-fi, apparently. Jodie Foster was in Contact, not Stargate, a whole other wormhole movie.

  • Dissident

    To his credit though, he seemed to have a pretty good handle on Back to the Future (I). Shall we pass him?

  • Clifford

    We only pass him if he knows about Back to the Future II and III and can connect them all up properly! He’s already got a lot to make up if he can’t place Jodie Foster in the right movie. I mean, come on…… there’s at least a body of facts to be gotten right…. How are we supposed to be confident in whether or not to invest in Time Travel futures (pun intended) if we can’t trust his basic movie trivia facts?!


  • Plato

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