March 17, 2005
INFORMATION: John McElwain or John Green, (661) 362-3494 or 3684
Einsteins Theory of Relativity to be Focus of Presentation
Astronomer Skip Newhall Slated to Make Free Presentation April 12
SANTA CLARITA Dr. Skip Newhall, a recently retired NASA astronomer and descendant of local pioneer Henry Mayo Newhall, will speak about Albert Einsteins Theory of Relativity during a free presentation at College of the Canyons on Tuesday, April 12.
Entitled Special Relativity for Non-Scientists, Newhalls presentation will provide a laymans explanation of one of the most profound and far-reaching intellectual contributions to all of physics. The presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the colleges cafeteria.
Newhall served 35 years as an astronomer for NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which, as the lead U.S. center for robotic exploration of the solar system, has sent spacecraft to all known planets except Pluto. While at JPL, Newhall worked on spacecraft navigation and orbit determination, very-long-baseline interferometry and lunar laser ranging.
It was exactly 100 years ago that Einstein first introduced his Theory of Relativity in limited form as Special Relativity. In 1916 he introduced the theory in more complete form as General Relativity, a one-man leap of intellect that forced a fundamental re-evaluation of our understanding of the universe and how it works.
A full grasp of the details of relativity requires advanced mathematics and physics. However, the basic ideas and principles of special relativity can be made easily available even to people with no scientific or technical background.
Newhalls illustrated, non-technical presentation will cover:
- The speed of light and when it can and cannot be exceeded;
- The slowing of the rates of moving clocks;
- The apparent contraction of the length of moving objects;
- The three speeds defined by relativity: proper speed, coordinate speed and effective speed;
- And, perhaps the most famous equation ever: E=mc2. Newhall will discuss what it means, where it comes from and why it has to be.
The talk will be presented by the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program at College of the Canyons. Refreshments will be served.
For additional information, contact MESA Program Director Susan Crowther at (661) 362-3448 or firstname.lastname@example.org.