About the Course
In this course, we will seek to “understand Einstein,” especially focusing on the special theory of relativity that Albert Einstein, as a twenty-six-year-old patent clerk, introduced in his “miracle year” of 1905. Our goal will be to go behind the myth-making and beyond the popularized presentations of relativity in order to gain a deeper understanding of both Einstein the person and the concepts, predictions, and strange paradoxes of his theory.
Some of the questions we will address include:
- How did Einstein come up with his ideas?
- What was the nature of his genius?
- What is the meaning of relativity?
- What’s “special” about the special theory of relativity?
- Why did the theory initially seem to be dead on arrival?
- What does it mean to say that time is the “fourth dimension”?
- Can time actually run more slowly for one person than another, and the size of things change depending on their velocity?
- Is time travel possible, and if so, how?
- Why can’t things travel faster than the speed of light?
- Is it possible to travel to the center of the galaxy and return in one lifetime?
- Is there any evidence that definitively confirms the theory, or is it mainly speculation?
- Why didn’t Einstein win the Nobel Prize for the theory of relativity?
- Introduction to the Course, and Einstein in Context
- Events, Clocks, and Reference Frames
- Ethereal Problems and Solutions
- The Weirdness Begins
- Spacetime Switches
- Breaking the Spacetime Speed Limit
- Paradoxes to Ponder
- To the Center of the Galaxy and Back
Larry Randles Lagerstrom Academic Director
To enroll in this course, click the link below.
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