6 Jun, 2013 530 Physics

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Einstein’s theories of relativity. Between 1905 and 1917 Albert Einstein formulated a theoretical framework which transformed our understanding of the Universe. The twin theories of Special and General Relativity offered insights into the nature of space, time and gravitation which changed the face of modern science. Relativity resolved apparent contradictions in physics and also predicted several new phenomena, including black holes. It’s regarded today as one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the twentieth century, and had an impact far beyond the world of science.

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  • Ruth Gregory 4 episodes
    Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Durham University
  • Martin Rees 9 episodes
    Astronomer Royal and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge
  • Roger Penrose 5 episodes
    Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford

Reading list

  • Why Does E=mc2?: (And Why Should We Care?)
    Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (Da Capo, 2010) Google Books →
  • The World As I See It
    Albert Einstein (Citadel Press Inc, 2006) Google Books →
  • Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
    Albert Einstein (Pober Publishing Company, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Essential Einstein: His Greatest Works
    Albert Einstein (Penguin, 2008) Google Books →
  • Einstein: His Life and Universe
    Walter Isaacson (Pocket Books, 2008) Google Books →
  • The New World of Mr Tompkins
    George Gamow and Russell Stannard (CUP, 2001) Google Books →
  • The Einstein Theory of Relativity: A Concise Statement
    H. A. Lorentz (General Books, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Road To Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
    Roger Penrose (Vintage, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Nature of Space and Time
    Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking (Princeton University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Before the Beginning: Our Universe and Others
    Martin Rees (Basic Books, 1998) Google Books →
  • Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe
    Martin Rees (Phoenix, 2001) Google Books →
  • Relativity: A Very Short Introduction
    Russell Stannard (OUP, 2008) Google Books →
  • Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
    Kip Thorne (W. W. Norton & Co., 1995) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1905, a 26-year-old technical assistant at the patent office in Bern in Switzerland submitted four papers to a German scientific journal.