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Canterbury celebrates World Year of Physics


University of Canterbury celebrates World Year of Physics

The University of Canterbury Physics and Astronomy department is holding a series of lectures next month that you don't have to be an Einstein to understand.

This year has been designated World Year of Physics to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the year Albert Einstein wrote articles which provided the basis of three fundamental fields of physics: the theory of relativity, quantum theory and the theory of Brownian motion. Events are being held around the world to mark the year.

To celebrate World Year of Physics 2005 five members of the department will give free public lectures at the Great Hall in the Arts Centre, Christchurch, focusing on the legendary discoveries of Albert Einstein and how the famous physicist’s ideas now influence their daily work.

Organiser, postgraduate student Alex Nielsen said the lectures would be at a popular, non-technical level aimed at anyone who wanted to learn more about who Einstein was, about his revolutionary discoveries.

“It is 100 years since Einstein published three papers in the space of months which were totally revolutionary. It was a period of the greatest creativity of any person in physics and in science more generally.”

Einstein was just 26 when his discoveries shook the science world in 1905. A century on the young scientists of a new millennium will help explain the theories of the German with the wild mane of hair who came up with one of the most famous equations in science: E=MC2.

The lectures will cover Einstein’s life and theories, and the realm of science they gave birth to. The series also has a uniquely Kiwi spin with Pauline Harris giving a lecture on the history of Maori science and physics in New Zealand.

For more detailed information on the lecture series see the University of Canterbury’s Events page (http://www.comsdev.canterbury.ac.nz/events.shtml).

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