On Monday, November 23rd, the Aspen Institute, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and the PBS series NOVA celebrated the centennial of Albert Einstein’s discovery of the Theory of General Relativity, the most beautiful theory in the history of science. General Relativity was Einstein’s great breakthrough, in which he reframed gravity as the curvature of time and space, rather than an invisible force acting between two objects as Newton had described. This deceptively simple revelation, breathtakingly complex in its origin, precipitated a myriad of practical and theoretical implications from the Big Bang to the atomic bomb, and from GPS to string theory.
The night began with a sneak peek screening of NOVA’s new film, “Inside Einstein’s Mind”, followed by a panel discussion with Walter Isaacson, President & CEO of The Aspen Institute and author of Einstein: His Life and Universe, Paula S. Apsell, Senior Executive Producer, NOVA, Dr. Margaret Moerchen, Science Deputy, Carnegie Institution for Science, and Dr. Sylvester James Gates, Professor of Physics, The University of Maryland. Cake and surprises followed the discussion as scientists, students, and Washingtonians celebrated this grand anniversary.
Want more Einstein? Read The Washington Post’s piece about the evening, “Einstein’s General Relativity at 100: Put that in your pipe and smoke it”. View “Inside Einstein’s Mind” on PBS NOVA, watch a full video of the panel above, and see the Institute’s Walter Isaacson discuss Einstein’s achievements on PBS NewsHour. Plus you can learn more about Einstein’s art of thought experimentation in Isaacson’s recent op-ed for The New York Times, “The Light-Beam Rider”.