I had some unusual guests in my General Relativity lecture yesterday, Eric Salat and Philip Shane, two film makers from Left/Right productions. They’re working on a documentary for the History Channel on the development of various ideas in physics in the early 20th Century, and they wanted to know more about the topics, and to see a full (1 hour and 50 minute) lecture from me.
While it is the History Channel (hence the dramatic subtitle – sorry), it is not part of the series “The Universe”, by the way. It is another separate part of the increased very welcome expansion of that channel’s science programming. Have you noticed the diversification of their programming that they’ve been doing? I’ve mentioned it before, and a number of people have commented on it to me elsewhere. It has been great to see.
It’s always fun to have more people in the classroom, and so we had a lot of fun… (Or at least, I did…I hope everyone else did too.) I happened to be doing a lecture on deriving some of the classic tests of Einstein’s General Relativity, so it was a nice mixture of pure theoretical on the one hand (Schwarzschild geometry, geodesic equation for motion in it, and so forth), to boiling out the actual observational consequences of it all (precession of planetary orbits, bending of light by the sun, time delays on radar signals, and so forth).
We did some location scouting afterwards around the campus, while we talked about ideas for the program, and a wide range of other topics. As you know from previous posts, I’ve been involved in shooting for various things on the campus before with other film makers (using demonstration labs in some cases, or various outdoor settings in others) and there’s a lot of variety and some lovely settings – some excellent buildings, fountains, and landscaping. I always like an excuse to visit some of these favourite parts of the campus of mine, and so it was a pleasant way to wind down after class.
Later, I’ll tell you more about the shooting (when we do some) and the upcoming program. I think it’ll probably be really excellent!