Montana State University will host one of the world’s first events to celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, Tuesday through Saturday.
The free public celebration, “Celebrating Einstein,” is designed to share the story of Einstein’s ideas, and the excitement of general relativity, black holes and gravitational waves. The celebration brings together artists, musicians, composers, dancers, including a Cirque du Soleil performer, filmmakers, architects, educators and physicists.
MSU, NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Montana Space Grant Consortium will host the public celebration and an international scientific workshop in Bozeman. The scientific workshop is expected to draw 60 scientists from the United States, Europe and Japan who work on relativity and experimental tests of Einstein’s theories.
The celebration opens Tuesday, April 2, with the “Black (W)hole” art installation, which features the sights and sounds of a small black hole spiraling violently into a supermassive one, with an opening reception set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Emerson Cultural Center ballroom. It will remain open through Saturday.
The week concludes with “Shout Across Time,” a live multimedia theater show at the Emerson, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6. It will feature a lecture on general relativity, the MSU Symphony Orchestra playing an original composition inspired by gravitational wave astronomy, and an original film featuring numerical simulations of black hole collisions.
On Friday, “Shout Across Time” will include a directed interview with Jim Gates, professor and director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland, in the Emerson’s Crawford Theater. On Saturday, the directed interview will be with professor Bernard Schutz, director of the Albert Einstein Institute in Germany.
On Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m., there will be a public lecture in the Emerson’s Crawford Theater on “Legacies of Einstein’s Concert and Opus,” by Gates, who will give an overview of Einstein’s accomplishments.
On Friday at 9 a.m., the international scientific workshop begins in the MSU Strand Union Building. It continues through Sunday, April 7. At 4 p.m. Friday, a physics colloquium will be held with David Spergel, professor of astrophysical sciences from Princeton University.
Nicolas Yunes, 2010 recipient of NASA’s Einstein Fellowship and assistant physics professor at MSU, heads MSU’s Celebrating Einstein planning committee.
“Celebrating Einstein” will be held two years before the centennial anniversary of the discovery of Einstein’s general relativity. One reason is to raise public awareness of the theory’s significance, and the last Einstein prediction that has not yet been observed, Yunes said. He also said it is essential for scientists to explain themselves to the public.
“All of our research, especially in this area, is funded by the federal government, either the NSF or NASA,” he said. “So your taxes, my taxes, everyone’s taxes are paying for this. … People will appreciate science less and less if we scientists don’t bother to explain our discoveries in a language that everybody can understand.”
For more information, go to http://www.einstein.montana.edu/