Relativity in a Nutshell: Albert Einstein

I don’t know if Dr. Einstein would have written a Nutshell book if he were around nowadays, but I do know that my favorite audio company, The Teaching Company, is commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Albert Einstein’s birth by offering two free physics lectures for the downloading, one on “Einstein’s Miracle Year” and the other “Relativity in a Nutshell”.
Mini bio: Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 � April 18, 1955) was a Jewish theoretical physicist who is widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century. He proposed the theory of relativity and also made major contributions to the development of quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and cosmology. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect and “for his services to Theoretical Physics”.

Here’s their description of these two lectures:
We are pleased to present two complimentary lectures on the history of physics: “Einstein’s Miraculous Year” and �Relativity in a Nutshell� are presented by Professor Richard Wolfson, a 20-year teaching veteran at Middlebury College, These lectures reflect his expertise in interpreting science for the non-specialist.
We offer free lectures to our customers at various times throughout the year as part of our goal to provide a lifelong learning experience. You may access these free lectures online any time between now and July 31, 2005.
In �Einstein’s Miracle Year,� you will learn about 1905, when the great physicist published major works in diverse areas of physics. Two of them�on the quantum nature of light and on special relativity�laid the groundwork for much of 20th-century physics. Others presented final convincing evidence for the reality of atoms and molecules.
Einstein’s name is most closely associated with the Theory of Relativity. In �Relativity in a Nutshell,� Dr. Wolfson outlines the essence of relativity and hints at why the theory requires a radical restructuring of our notions of time and space.
You may listen to these lectures at your computer by choosing to “stream” them, or you may download them to listen on your computer without being attached to the Internet. You may also burn them to a CD or load them on a portable listening device if you download them.

I save the MP3, drag it to my iTunes, then save it on my iPod for my next listening session. Simple, easy, and usually darn interesting!
Here are the critical links:
Einstein’s Miracle Year: Windows Media, Real Media or MP3 download
Relativity In a Nutshell: Windows Media, Real Media or MP3 download
You can also learn quite a bit more about the brilliant and eccentric Albert Einstein by starting at Wikipedia, then exploring the Albert Einstein Archives.

3 comments on “Relativity in a Nutshell: Albert Einstein

  1. get this, try the assumption of space=time in the equations. (just try it out, i am still surprised)in case it seems like heresy, consider that mass=energy was considered heresy once as well.

  2. Rob MacRiner ,
    Answer to Question: Why does time seem to exist only in a forward direction?
    Time seems to only exist in a forward direction because the universe is expanding. If the Universe reaches Critical Velocity and starts to contract ….then time, as we measure time will reverse according to the Big Bang / Big Crunch Theory. The reason for this is that time does not exist without change or movement….. (change or movement of particle matter or energy as we know it). If matter has no movement either expanding or contracting then time does not exit for that matter. However Time can exist around non moving particle matter if something is either expanding or contracting around it.
    If the expansion of matter increases as in the case of our universe, or an expanding object, or even light…then time increases relative to the rate of expansion. Example: if carbon A is heated and expands faster than carbon B (which is not heated) then time increases in carbon A relative to carbon B…However as Einstein pointed out…time is relative to the observer…and you need something of contrast to make that comparison….fortunately our universe offers lots of contrast …otherwise we would have a very difficult time figuring this out. Time being relative to the observer can exist at different speeds based on the rate of expanding matter. If you are on riding on a beam of light than time is much different than your friend riding on a sound wave.Of course time is relative to the observer, therefore your time is much faster only to him, or any body else who is not on a beam of light.
    If matter contracts or condenses then time actually reverses�as in the case of a contracting universe�so Planks Quantum would be measured as zero time for the entire Universe�and time starts at the point of the Big Bang (once matter is on the move again)� In the case of a black hole, relative to our expanding universe)… there is also no time. (except for matter being sucked into a black hole�.this matter would be reversing in time, until at which point it becomes part of the black hole mass, then time (in a Black Hole) as in Planks Quantum is zero�.which is odd because the Universe is still expanding around the black hole�but it is consistent with the theory that. Time can exist around �non moving matter� if something is either expanding or contracting
    Time as we know it is measured in a forward direction and will continue until the point of critical velocity�at which point time starts to reverse�and for a brief moment�the point where the Universe changes from expanding to contracting�time will again be zero�as in Planks Quantum. However�during the forward direction of time�(while the Universe is expanding)�black holes are continuing to suck up matter�and should in theory at some point converge with other black holes�.Therefore�as the universe is expanding from the big bang�there is multitude of matter which is not expanding (black holes)�which might well be unexploded Planks Quantum matter from the big bang�and the black holes with their massive gravitational force are sucking up matter which was attempting to expand but was not able to overcome the stronger force of the black hole�like mini-Plank Quantum�s converging within the universe �When the Universe reaches Critical Velocity and then all matter in our Universe starts to contract�heading towards the Big Crunch�.the multitude of black holes converging (up to that point) should in theory rapidly increase the speed of reverse time �acting as an accelerant force of a contracting Universe with there collective gravitational force �so the reverse of time.(the journey the contracting Universe is taking towards the Big Crunch)…should happen much quicker than the time it took for the Universe to go from the Big Bang to Critical Velocity�That is of course Time relative from the Big Bang to Critical Velocity ��in contrast to ��.Time Relative from Critical Velocity to the Big Crunch..� Rob MacRiner Nov 2007

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