Einstein Discovered | Osher Lifelong Learning Institute | University of Miami

Einstein Discovered

OSH 801 / Non Credit
Course taught in: English
Locations: CB 116
Instructor: Mark Egdall

Course Description

Come take a mindboggling journey through the depths of Einstein’s universe—from E=mc2 to every day time travel. Learn how this former high school drop-out revolutionized our understanding of space and time. Along the way, we track the perils and triumphs of Einstein’s life. Explained in everyday language.

Week 1

From Unknown to Revolutionary – We discuss Einstein’s rebellious youth, his attitude problems at school, and inability to get a professorship. Learn about the great conflict between Newton's laws and Maxwell’s breakthrough on electricity, magnetism, and light.

Week 2

The Two Postulates of Special Relativity – Einstein radical new theory was based on two simple principles on light and motion. Einstein imagined himself sitting on a light beam (at age 16!). This led to the discovery of the absolute nature of the speed of light.

Week 3

The True Nature of Time –Does time shrink with motion? We discuss the famous “light clock” thought experiment and how it leads to the notion that we are all time travelers!

Week 4

Simultaneity and Length Contraction – Learn why two events that happen at the same time for you may not happen at the same time for me. Is the shrinking of space real or an illusion? Find out how to fit a 20-foot pole into a 10-foot barn.

Week 5

The World’s Most Famous Equation – See how mass, momentum, and energy are affected by motion. Learn the true meaning of E = mc2. What happens when matter and anti-matter collide? Find out how the Sun manages to radiate light for billions of years.

Week 6

The Spacetime Continuum – We discuss the concept of spacetime, the four-dimensional “fabric of the universe”. Learn how the math teacher who called Einstein a lazy dog discovered the spacetime interval—the universal ruler for all events in the cosmos.

Ira Mark Egdall received his undergraduate degree in physics from Northeastern University. He recently retired from a 35-year engineering and program management career in the U.S. aerospace industry. He now teaches lay courses in modern physics he created at Lifelong Learning Institutes at the University of Miami, Florida International University, and Nova Southeastern University. Course material includes particle physics, quantum mechanics, special relativity, general relativity, and cosmology. For information on Mark’s courses, please go to:  http://www.marksmodernphysics.com

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