World Science Festival's "Light Falls"
I attended a great performance by Brian Greene and his crew last night in Manhattan, called “Light Falls: Space, Time, and an Obsession of Einstein”, produced by the World Science Festival. This year is the 100th anniversary of the observations that confirmed General Theory of Relativity: star light bends when passing near the Sun. Einstein predicted the amount of this deflection by his general theory of relativity.
Observing the star two times, six months apart, when the Sun is in our line of sight versus when it is not. If the Sun bends light from the star, we expect to pinpoint the position of the star slightly different from when the Sun is not in our field of view. But how do you observe a star light when the Sun is right on your way? You should wait for a solar eclipse. Einstein was eagerly waiting to hear the results of observations made by Eddington and collaborators in the 1919 solar eclipse to see if the amount of deflections he had predicted with his theory was right. The results were spectacular and confirmed Einstein’s predictions. Einstein became even more worldwide famous after this confirmation.
The merger between science, technology, and art made this performance outstanding. Good news is that PBS will broadcast this show on May 29, 2019. It is amazing how beautifully Brian Greene explains these difficult concepts in a simple perfect language! This week and the next I am also teaching special relativity and general relativity in the Frontiers of Science course at Columbia. This show was indeed a perfect encouragement and motive for me to do a better job in teaching science!