Happy Centennial, General Relativity!

general_relativity_centennial_kip_thorne(Click for larger view.) Well, I’ve already mentioned why today is such an important day in the history of human thought – One Hundred years of Certitude was the title of the post I used, in talking about the 100th Anniversary (today) of Einstein completing the final equations of General Relativity – and our celebration of it back last Friday went very well indeed. Today on NPR Adam Frank did an excellent job expanding on things a bit, so have a listen here if you like.

As you might recall me saying, I was keen to note and celebrate not just what GR means for science, but for the broader culture too, and two of the highlights of the day were examples of that. The photo above is of Kip Thorne talking about the science (solid General Relativity coupled with some speculative ideas rooted in General Relativity) of the film Interstellar, which as you know (from reading here or elsewhere) was based largely on ideas that he pitched to filmmakers as a way of having a science fiction story based on big ideas from science, and which was made with his scientific guidance an integral part of the story-telling. Whatever you think of the film (and people love to argue about it) you cannot deny that this is a huge way of getting General Relativity “out there” in the broader public sphere, with well over 100 million people having seen the film. This talk was one of the highlights of the day – a delightful talk by an engaging speaker, with a riveted audience.

The photo below (Click for larger view) is of the excellent Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities luncheon we had in the middle of the day (teamed up with USC’s Harman Academy for Polymathic Study) where three of us (science writer KC Cole, historian Ze’ev Rozenkranz, and me), plus the audience, explored the theme of Einstein and Relativity in the arts, politics, and other aspects of the culture. All the various events on the one day program shone in their own way, and I hope to post some more photos later.


So Congratulations on 100 years, General Relativity!


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