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ranugad
2005-Oct-12, 07:51 PM
I did a quick search on "Einstein's Big Idea" with too many results.
Added in "NOVA" and came up dry.

Is there a discussion here on the show?

We watched last night. WOW!

Suprising stuff about the guy that "discovered" electromagnetic radiation.
I didn't know he was laughed at when he first theorized it.

It was also the first time I can recall actually hearing E's attempt to visualize looking in a mirror while traveling at or near the speed of light.
How he had his epiphany while viewing clock towers at varying distances from a hilltop.
Now this idea, that the perceived speed of light won't change for an observer traveling at or near the speed of light due to time dilation has really sparked soemthing in me... having trouble visualizing, formulating how this "relativity" might translate into other areas.

Like...
A seemingly simple question like, 'How much do you weigh?' in today's day and age, where few people would have any other experience of weight besides the weight they are on this 3rd rock from Sol, would require clarifiers, in say - 500 years, when/if humanity colonizes planets of varying mass.

Weight is relative...
Time is relative...
Distance is relative...
space is relative...
speed is relative...
age is relative since time is relative...
mass is relative since space is relative?

publiusr
2005-Oct-12, 09:06 PM
The more success--the more relatives.

The program was very good. Good thing Marat wasn't on this board, some of us would lose our heads.

fossilnut2
2005-Oct-12, 09:27 PM
I found the program trivial and politically correct to the point of absurdity. They wanted to make it 'gender inclusive' so included two minor participants to the exclusion of more major figures. Even my wife, who is a a scientist herself, found it patronizing.

Rutherford, Bohr, Heisenberg, Fermi.....? Were their names even mentioned? The French lady in the country didn't really contribute much except a display of fashions of the time.

Now to be positive. It's good to see a nebulous concept such as General Relativity brought to the television. Hopefully some folks were inspired to learn more about the history of physics and will 'get the scientific' bug.

aporetic_r
2005-Oct-12, 11:16 PM
I saw the show last night, too. Last year, I read the book on which it was based. Although I'm not a physicist or a mathematician, I didn't particularly like either the book or the show. I felt they were both a little light on the science (yikes - no pun intended). Don't get me wrong - I like a good historical drama as much as the next guy - but when I read about (or watch a show about) a scientific idea, that's what I'm interested in learning about. Obviously, the author pitched the book and show the way he did so that it would interest a wide range of viewers, but I personally would have preferred less drama and more science. As you pointed out, fossilnut, where were Heisenberg, Fermi, et al? A little less arguing between Davies (sp?) and Faraday would have left some time to mention these people.

Aporetic

Duane
2005-Oct-13, 06:48 PM
In the whole I enjoyed the show very much. I too, would have liked to have seen a little more on other figures from the past who contributed to the general field, such as Planck, Kepler or Bohr and a lttle less of the "drama", such as the love lives of those who were mentioned.

I don't think Fermi should have been mentioned, given he was only about 5 years old when Einstein published his papers.

Duane
2005-Oct-13, 06:50 PM
PS--I am moving this out of the "Q&A" thread as it really doesn't belong here.

Weird Dave
2005-Oct-13, 08:53 PM
This sounds like the thing that was shown in Britain a few months ago. I half agree with fossilnut2: the French woman (Emilie du Châtelet) didn't seem to have done much at all except publicise somebody else's work. But Lise Meitner deserved to be there. I disagree that nuclear energy/weapons are really relevant to E=mc^2 - that equation allows you to predict the energy release if you know the precise masses of the nuclei involved, but it is perfectly possible to measure the energy experimentally and ignore the miniscule mass loss. However, given that the program wanted a nuclear link, the discoverer of fission is a good way to go. They could have replaced du Châtelet with Marie Curie.

Give the programme some credit - they didn't claim that Einstein's wife did all the work and he stole it!

gethen
2005-Oct-13, 08:59 PM
I found the program trivial and politically correct to the point of absurdity. They wanted to make it 'gender inclusive' so included two minor participants to the exclusion of more major figures. Even my wife, who is a a scientist herself, found it patronizing.

I rather thought that the French female mathemetican was an interesting character, but certainly not central to the background of Einstein's work. It sounded as if they were saying her contribution was that she agreed with someone else's work and published a paper saying so.
The German woman's contribution seemed more important, as she seemed to be the one who recognized the uranium atom's fission. Still, I don't think they tied that concept into Einstein's eqation very tidily.
Otherwise, it was a very interesting program.

papageno
2005-Oct-14, 10:11 AM
Suprising stuff about the guy that "discovered" electromagnetic radiation.
I didn't know he was laughed at when he first theorized it. Who? Maxwell?
He was a well established scientist, who did not work only on electromagnetism.
Or are you referring to Hertz?


But Lise Meitner deserved to be there. Indeed she deserves more recognition. She was the head of the group that discovered nuiclear fission, but she was effectively driven out of Germany.

ranugad
2005-Oct-15, 09:36 PM
Who? Maxwell?
He was a well established scientist, who did not work only on electromagnetism.
Or are you referring to Hertz?


No, the one who was a bookbinder and then an assistant to the guy with the eye patch.

01101001
2005-Oct-16, 07:56 PM
Watching it now.

I did catch a show, maybe VH1's Best Week Ever, where someone made the amusing-to-me comment, to the effect: Hey! Einstein used physics to get chicks! D'oh! I was using money.

Gillianren
2005-Oct-17, 07:44 PM
No, the one who was a bookbinder and then an assistant to the guy with the eye patch.

Faraday.

So I watched it yesterday. Mrs. Einstein (yeesh, I'm bad with names!) was played by Moaning Myrtle, and Lise Meitner was played by Gaz's wife from The Full Monty, and I'm relatively (ha!) sure that I'm about the only person who noticed that. It's listed on IMDB as "E=MC2," too, not "Einstein's Big Idea."

I'm glad they showed Meitner, who to this day doesn't get the credit she deserves. As for Du Chatelet, well, no, she didn't do the original work herself. This is true. However, it's entirely possible she was included for at least one of the following reasons: a) she was a woman and they were being politically correct, b) she was more interesting than the Dutch guy whose work she was testing, or c) her translation/correction of Newton is the one that is still used in teaching in France today. My vote, admittedly without knowing much about the Dutch guy, is b and c.