SSI1 119

Einstein and Everything

In 1999, Time Magazine named Albert Einstein the most influential person of the twentieth century. Who was Albert Einstein? This course examines his personal and scientific life as well as his legacy. Einstein?s research in physics revolutionized our understanding of space and time, produced a new theory of gravity that underpins modern cosmology, and contributed to the development of quantum theory. A German national who renounced his citizenship as a teenager only to take a distinguished job in Berlin, a pacifist who opposed WWI but urged President Roosevelt to start a nuclear-weapons program, a non-religious Jew who championed freedom of conscience but turned down the presidency of Israel, Einstein embodies many of the contradictions of the twentieth century. By examining Einstein?s life in its historical context, students analyze a range of issues: how does society (e.g., through its religious beliefs, economics, and military interests) shape science, and how does science shape society, affecting institutions, cultural values, and national and personal identity? Affiliate department: Science, Technology, and Society.