Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Here's something a few people have mentioned to me: the Pirelli Relativity Challenge. The tire company is sponsoring a prize of 25,000 Euros to "the best multimedia work that explains special relativity theory to the layperson." By "multimedia" they apparently mean a web-based animation, using Flash or some such thing. My total lack of animation skillz prevents me from entering, I'm afraid. If anyone is interested, the deadline is March 31, 2005.
There will probably be a bunch of similar stunts, associated with the World Year of Physics in 2005. (Another site here -- I think the latter is more US-based.) It's the anniversary of Einstein's "Miraculous Year," in which he had no fewer than three amazing breakthroughs: an understanding of Brownian motion in terms of atomic theory, an understanding of the photoelectric effect in terms of light quanta, and the ultimate formulation of special relativity. Of course, his best breakthrough was ten years later, when he came up with the ultimate formulation of general relativity. Plenty of room for more celebrations then.