What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas and Why They Matter

Dr.  Jeffrey Bennett
Big Kid Science

This year (2015) marks the 100th anniversary of Einstein's completion of his General Theory of Relativity, yet the vast majority of students, teachers, and the public know very little about the critical importance of either the special or general theories to modern understanding of the universe. In this presentation, based on his book What is Relativity? from Columbia University Press, Dr. Bennett will introduce you to the basic ideas of Einstein's theories and discuss why they are important to everyone. (He’ll also help you understand the movie Interstellar.) No prior knowledge of physics or relativity will be assumed. Note: This presentation is part of Dr. Bennett’s “national relativity tour” in honor of a century of general relativity.

Astrophysicist and educator Jeffrey Bennett’s extensive experience includes teaching at every level from preschool through graduate school, proposing and helping to develop the Voyage Scale Model Solar System on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and serving two years as a Visiting Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters, where he helped create numerous programs designed to build stronger links between the research and education communities. He is the lead author of bestselling college textbooks in astronomy, astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics; of critically acclaimed titles for the general public including Beyond UFOs (Princeton University Press, 2008/2011), Math for Life (Big Kid Science 2014), What is Relativity? (Columbia University Press, 2014), and On Teaching Science (Big Kid Science, 2014). His first five books for children are currently orbiting Earth and being read by astronauts aboard the International Space Station for the new “Story Time From Space” program  (storytimefromspace.com); his latest, I, Humanity, will be launched to the ISS in December. Dr. Bennett was recently honored with the American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award. His personal web site is www.jeffreybennett.com.