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Rational Inquiry -Volume 10 Number 1

Einstein For the Hoi Polloi

by Keith Taylor

As program chair I get nervous before every meeting. We are a scientific group. An open meeting by folks who rely on science often disturbs folks who don't want their own ideas disturbed. If you don't believe it give a lecture on the USS Liberty.

On the other hand, we could have a meeting so technical and esoteric, even for a scientific group, that few would want to attend. I wondered how many others, besides me, are baffled at the 100 year old idea that there is a special relationship between space and time?

Thus I was very surprised and pleased on November 28, 2004, to see an audience larger than usual, including several "newbies", show up to hear a lecture about the miracle year of Albert Einstein, one of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world.

Dr. Giancarlo Borgonovi of the Science Applications International corporation is dedicating a display in March to Dr. Einstein in Balboa Park. We asked him to tell us a bit more about this great genius.

That he did, and more. His lecture told of the three papers in his miracle year of 1905: the quantum idea of the photoelectric effect, the interpretation of Brownian motion to demonstrate the reality of atoms and molecules, and the theory of Special Relativity.

Relativity, of course, modified our concepts of space, time, mass, and energy. It transformed our understanding of the universe.

In addition to his achievements we got a thumbnail sketch of Einstein as a very human guy.

We had several new faces. One joined SDARI on the spot. Please help us in spreading the word and invite someone to our next meeting.

For those who want additional information on Einstein's ideas Barbara Hemmingsen, SDARI treasurer, recommends a couple books for the lay person.


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