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Albert Einstein.

Einstein

October 20, 2006 to January 14, 2007

The Man

Albert Einstein riding a bicycle.

Albert Einstein was daring, wildly ingenious, imaginative and passionately curious. He saw a beam of light and imagined riding it. He looked up at the sky and envisioned that space-time was curved. His insight fundamentally changed the way we look at the universe and made him the most famous scientist of the 20th century.

"My life is a simple thing that would interest no one," he once claimed. His letters, notebooks and manuscripts tell a dramatically different story.

The Exhibition

This internationally travelling exhibition shows you the life, loves, politics and science of the renowned 20th-century icon. It covers an area approximately equal to more than two tennis courts (800 square metres). Come view the world through Einstein's eyes. You may be surprised by what you see!

A Revolution in Physics

Upon entering the gallery, you are introduced to Einstein's "Revolution". On May 29, 1919, a solar eclipse confirmed Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (published three years earlier). It predicted that the sun's gravity deflects light, thereby making stars appear in new locations. During that eclipse, astronomers were able to document the deflection of starlight by the sun's gravity -- and Einstein was launched into international fame.

The theory caused a revolution in physics because it refuted Sir Isaac Newton's description of gravity as an instantaneous force over a distance. Einstein said that for this to be true, the pull of the force would have to exceed the speed of light, which was impossible.

Life and Times

Explore the early years, education, family life and love affairs of this scientific revolutionary. Einstein taught himself geometry at the age of 12 and wrote his first "science paper" four years later. While working as a patent clerk in a Swiss federal office, Einstein not only earned his Ph.D., but he published four ground-breaking articles in physics. The year 1905, when he was only 26, would be called his "miracle year". He would go on to receive the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his distinguished career in physics, most notably for his 1905 Photoelectric Effect theory -- not for his more controversial theories of relativity.

In a brief video presented in the mini-theatre, you will see footage of interviews by Einstein's colleagues and admirers.

Rethinking the Universe

Moving into the next section of the exhibition, you will explore the principles of Einstein's ground-breaking Special Theory of Relativity and General Theory of Relativity. Here we see that Einstein reinterpreted the inner workings of nature -- the very essence of light, time, energy and gravity. He determined that:

  • the speed of light is constant
  • time does not progress at the same rate for everyone, everywhere
  • energy and mass are different forms of the same thing
  • gravity is not an instantaneous force in the universe as Sir Isaac Newton described.

The Learning Lab

Albert Einstein in formal wear.

Try out some of Einstein's physics concepts yourself in the Learning Lab. Discover how you can transmit sound through laser light, or warp the fabric of space-time in a two-dimensional model universe.

Global Citizen

We know Einstein as a visionary physicist, but he was also a passionate humanitarian and anti-war activist. His celebrity status enabled him to speak out on global issues ranging from pacifism to racism, anti-Semitism to nuclear disarmament.

Legacy

Finally, before exiting the exhibition, you will be reminded of Einstein's legacy. Controversial and challenging, his brilliant theories of relativity were ahead of their time. While Einstein was not successful in his attempt to describe all physical phenomena in one Grand Unified Theory, physicists today still pursue that quest. The famous scientist left it up to future generations to solve the lingering questions raised by the limitless scope of his imagination.