What do you know about Albert Einstein and his genius scientific contribution? The Hong Kong Science Museum has repeatedly succeeded in putting up terrific exhibitions about very popular science related topics that we somehow know very little about. Previous one was about the "Marvelous inventions of Leonardo da Vinchi" and now the wonderful "Albert Einstein 1879-1955" detailing the intriguing life of one of the most famous figures of our world.
To the question opening this post I would embarrassingly admit that I knew very little. Moreover, although I’ve been aware of the E=MC2 atom bomb clichés till this exhibition I wasn’t entirely sure what Einstein’s research was about and why it was considered so be so genius. It rarely happens that a scientist becoming a pop-star figure like Einstein so it was clear to me that there also had to be more to him than simply a very clever man so that he had to possess what many of us in academia lack in terms of peoples’ skills and charm. I now get it a bit better.
The HK Science Museum introduces:
Albert Einstein was the most influential and notable physicist in the twentieth century. He is well known for his theory of relativity and was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.
Einstein’s interest in science was kindled at his early age. He had a talent for mathematics and abstract thought, and the intellectual freedom of theoretical physics appealed to him. In 1905, the young physicist published three of his most influential research papers, including the special theory of relativity. His theories on the nature of time and space profoundly affected the human conception of the physical world and laid the foundations for many of the scientific theories and technological advances of modern times.
More than 200 items, including original memorabilia, written records, photos and film documentaries are showcased in the exhibition to provide a vivid, overall picture of Einstein’s life and times. Apart from shedding light on Einstein’s biography and putting it in the context of world history, the exhibition provides insight into his revolutionary ideas in modern physics. There are animations and videos on his theories, and a number of interactive exhibits for demonstrating various physics phenomena. The exhibition is a key attraction of "Einstein in Hong Kong" Campaign held from April to August 2011.
As Einstein put it, "The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder." Enter Einstein’s "spacetime", and you may be amazed by what you see!
The exhibition, I’m happy to report, was in collaboration with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology where I study which sought to "bring Einstein back to Hong Kong" :
[…] to launch the "Einstein in Hong Kong" program to offer to the people of Hong Kong a series of scientific and artistic events centered on the legendary Albert Einstein – one of the greatest scientists in the twentieth century. Prof Einstein had visited Hong Kong twice in his life – in 1922 just before he received the Nobel Prize in Physics, and also in the following year. There will be an exhibition, an academic conference, public lectures, music workshops and concerts, day camps for secondary students, and a writing workshop and competition, to be held over a five-month period from April to August this year.
HKUST continued with a series of events related to Albert Einstein.
My former alumni university – the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel – strangely holds the rights and ownership to most of the Einstein related material with the Albert Einstein Archives. HUJI has also participated to allow all the original Einstein papers, documents and photographs to be shown at the events and exhibition.
You can see that they’ve really done a good job with the design and thoroughness of the exhibition…
The exhibitions opens up with various mentions of Einstein in leading world newspapers…
And continues to a very detailed description of Einstein’s life through photographs and documents…
(this photo, for example, tells the tale of Einstein’s flirtations with his cousin. He was quite the romantic ladies man, it turns out…)
Lots of interesting documents in the archive (invitation to be the president of Israel, award of noble prize, childhood drawings, sketches of formulas, etc.). I invite you to zoom in and read it for yourselves.
There were lots of basic explanation about Einstein’s theory of relatively and how it transformed the way that we perceive life and the our universe.
One last interesting section was dealing with the transformation of Einstein into a popular culture pop-star cult-symbol, the first to make science seem "cool"…
"Einstein in Hong Kong" is still running till end of August, go see it while you can.
More related links to the "Einstein in Hong Kong" exhibition :