Learning Resources for the 2015 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science

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Links to recommended readings and more information to help you continue learning about this year's topic. This webpage will be updated as the lectures progress.
2015 Frontiers Poster

24 January 2015

"Einstein's Greatest Discovery" presented by John Norton.

  • Einstein for Everyone: A web book (TM) by John Norton
    This free online book has nearly 40 chapters and surveys the history and philosophical significance of Einstein's physics. The text is written at an introductory level and is drawn from John Norton's course "Einstein for Everyone" at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Einstein's Pathway to General Relativity (a chapter in a book by John D. Norton)
    This chapter describes Einstein's indirect, fallible, tortured, and inspired path to his revolutionary theory of general relativity. The final theory emerged after Einstein struggled for seven years with many things: strong hunches about what the theory should say physically, vivid thought experiments to support the hunches, lengthy explorations into new mathematics, errors and confusions that thoroughly derailed him, and a final insight that rescued him from exhaustion and desperation.
  • A Peek into Einstein’s Zurich Notebook
    In the half century and more of Einstein's work in science, one discovery stands above all as his greatest achievement. It is his theory of general relativity. In it, Einstein found a new way to think of the gravity that pulls apples from their trees and keeps the moon in orbit around Earth. There are no forces pulling on them, he saw. They are merely responding to a curvature in the geometrical fabric of space and time.
  • More Einstein "Goodies" Provided by John D. Norton
    This collection of information provided by John D. Norton includes sections on the origins of Einstein's flashes of inspiration, the ways Einstein changed the way we think about science, Einstein's most famous thought experiment, and a guided thought exercise to answer the challenging question "How big is an atom?"

     


The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is a program of the Penn State Eberly College of Science that is designed for the enjoyment and education of residents of the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond.

Use the links to the left to access more information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, including archived recordings of previous lectures.

For more information or access assistance, contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Media Relations and Public Information by telephone at (814) 863-8453 or by e-mail at jms1140@psu.edu.


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