Einstein at the Skirball

Albert Einstein, Lotte Jacobi, New Jersey, 1938. ? The Lotte Jacobi Archives, University of New Hampshire

"Einstein" at the Skirball celebrates the centennial of Einsteins "Miracle Year".

"Einstein" is an interactive exhibit and the most comprehensive one ever mounted on the life and theories of Albert Einstein (1879-1955). It brings together many original manuscripts and personal treasures, most of them made public for the first time.  
 
"Einstein" currently at the Skirball Cultural Center highlights the life of Albert Einstein the scientist and the man.. This is the only West Coast showing of the exhibit and is open through May 29, 2005. This exhibit coincides with the 100th anniversary of Einstein's annus mirabilis.- "miracle year" of 1905. This is the year he proved the existence and sizes of molecules, explained light as both particles and waves, and created the Special Theory of Relativity, part of which linked matter and energy in the now-famous equation E=mc?.

The exhibition will bring to life many of Einstein's most astonishing visions of the universe-light's duality as both particle and wave, time as the fourth dimension, and space-time as a curved geometry.

           

This original handwritten page from a 1912 manuscript of Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity shows a version of the famous equation E=mc?. From the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

The exhibit is organized into several sections, among them include:

Video- A video that familiarizes visitors with Einstein's life and accomplishments and introduces some of the basic physic concepts encountered in the exhibition, narrated by Emmy Award-winning television, film, and stage actor Alan Alda.


Einstein's Revolution-Visitors are introduced to how radically Albert Einstein's work in physics reconfigured our modern understanding of the universe. In 1919, Einstein shot to international fame when British astronomers observing a solar eclipse confirmed one of the most astonishing predictions of his General Theory of Relativity: that the Sun's gravity deflects light from distant stars. The classic Newtonian view of gravity as a simple force between objects was overthrown by Einstein's vision of gravity as the result of objects warping space around them. A large video installation graphically simulates \gravitational distortion by warping the images of visitors as if they were seen close to a black hole.


Life and Times-This section traces Einstein's personal life, from his birth in Germany in 1879 to his passionate, often chaotic adult life. Personal artifacts on display in the United States, many for the first time, include Einstein's report card from his Swiss high school showing excellent grades in physics and algebra family photographs; a tea set; pipes; his magnetic compass similar to the one he saw as a child that first sparked his lifelong fascination with the elusive and sometimes counterintuitive forces of nature-and his 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics.


Light- A kinetic light sculpture using innovative LED technology to create moving light patterns helps visitors visualize Einstein's most revolutionary theories on the nature of light.


In this section a kinetic light sculpture helps visitors visualize Einstein's revolutionary theories on the nature of light. Photo by Denis Finnin. ? American Museum of Natural History

Time- A wall display of digital clocks, each ticking off the hours at a different rate, graphically illustrates Einstein's radical understanding that the length of any interval of time varies according to how fast the "clock" and the observer are moving. Specifically, the closer a traveler gets to the speed of light, the slower time passes as measured by an outside observer. 


Gravity- Visitors are introduced to Einstein's notion of gravity as a warping of space-time (space is conceived of having length, width, height, and time). This discovery-that mass tells space-time how to curve, and curved space-time tells mass how to move-forms the basis of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. On a wall-size interactive computer screen, visitors will see the mass of their own bodies warping the images on the screen, like a bowling ball rolling on a trampoline. Visitors can also control the gravity distorting powers of a black hole by changing variables on a computer simulation.


Global Citizen- Einstein used his worldwide fame to advocate for his deeply held political beliefs. This section features the original 1952 letter from Israel's ambassador to the United States, Abba Eban, offering Einstein the presidency of Israel, along with Einstein's handwritten letter graciously declining the offer.

Albert Einstein rides a bicycle at the home of Ben Meyer in Santa Barbara, California, on February 18, 1933. Courtesy of the Archives, California Institute of Technology

"Einstein" is a fascinating and illuminating exhibit which gives insights into the man, the scientist and his science.

In addition to the exhibit there will be lectures by distinguished scientists and writers, film series, adult education courses, theatrical, and musical performances.

"Einstein" is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. The curator for the exhibition is Michael M. Shara, Curator and Curator-in-Charge of Astrophysics in the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Physical Sciences; the associate curator for the exhibition is Ze'ev Rosenkranz, the Bern Dibner Curator in the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Jewish National and University Library. Saul Teukolsky, Professor of Physics at Cornell University, was the consulting scientist for the exhibition.Einstein at the Skirball has been coordinated by Grace Cohen Grossman, Senior Curator of Judaica and Americana.

Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA (exit Skirball Center Drive off the 405).

"Einstein" Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12:00-5:00 p.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; extended hours on Thursday evenings 5:00-9:00 p.m. from
September 23 through December 30, 2004 only, except holidays (see below); closed Mondays
November 11, November 25, January 1, and additional days in 2005 to be announced.


"Einstein" Admission: $12 General, $10 Group Rates, $8 Students and Seniors. Admission is free for Skirball Members and children under 12; admission is also free to the general public on Thursdays 5:00-9:00 p.m from September 23 through December 30, 2004 only. Parking is free.


For general information, the public may call (310) 440-4500 or visit www.skirball.org. To make group arrangements, the public may call (310) 440-4564 or e-mail [email protected].

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