Einstein and relativity

Science and maths educator Selwyn Holland shares a lesson on physicist Albert Einstein and how his theories of relativity significantly changed our understanding of time and gravity with related findings about the speed of light and the concept of spacetime.

Listen to this episode using the audio player above or by podcast via iTunes or Spotify or Stitcher (or search for “Wide Open Air Exchange” on your preferred podcast platform).

You’ll hear about Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity (and with it non-inertial motion, constant speed and time dilation) and his Theory of General Relativity (and with it gravity, acceleration and the curvature of spacetime) and how his famous equation E=mc2 fits in this story.

Selwyn is also enthusiastic about Einstein the person and his humanitarian efforts and influence in the scientific community. This episode covers some of the historical context of his work, his contributions to debate about quantum mechanics and atomic theory, and his prediction of gravitational waves which was only recently confirmed.

A version of this conversation was first broadcast on the radio on 2SER 107.3FM

In the feature photo above, Selwyn Holland is holding The Everything Einstein Book by Shana Priwer and Cynthia Phillips.

Audio clips and the closing music featured in this episode are from the soundtrack to Young Einstein by Mushroom records from the movie by Yahoo Serious.

The regular theme music of the Wide Open Air Exchange comes from The Pogues song ‘Tuesday Morning’.

The photo below is of Albert Einstein in 1947 by Orren Jack Turner via Wikimedia Commons.

Following from my non-academic remarks about the psychology of time and relativity during this episode, I was interested to later find this journal article which proposes to fill a gap between psychology and physics: ‘Psychological Spacetime: Implications of Relativity Theory for Time Perception‘.

And following from the reference to Pythagoras and his contributions to music theory, I was interested to read more in this article: ‘Pythagoras’ Discovery of the Mathematics of Harmonic Relationships

To comment on any aspect of this episode, or share further articles of interest, you’re welcome to join our Discord group for the Wide Open Air Exchange.

The photo below is of Albert Einstein lecturing in Vienna in 1921 by Ferdinand Schmutzer via Wikimedia Commons.

The other Wide Open Air Exchange episode referred to during this conversation is with astronomer and astrophysicist Sarah Caddy.

Selwyn Holland’s previous lesson on the Moon is also available.

They’re all the credits and references that I can think of!

Happy lifelong learning.

Christine Gallagher

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