*~Einstein's Space and Time~*

Did you ever wonder how Einstein did it? This course will tell his story; how a virtually unknown patent office clerk came to revolutionize the world of physics and become the most famous scientist of our age. This concept-based presentation of space and time is explained in everyday language. Ponder questions like, Is time travel real? Is space absolute? Appreciate the universe around you by learning the fundamental science that governs our world.

WEEK 1: Welcome and Overview - We will discuss Einstein's youth, his attitude problems at school, and his inability to get a professorship. Find out what Einstein knew in coming up with his special theory, including Maxwell's breakthrough on electricity magnetism and light.

WEEK 2: The Two Postulates of Special Relativity - Einstein based his radical theory on two simple postulates which revolutionized our concept of space and time. Learn what Galileo 's dictum "all speeds are relative" means. Einstein imagined himself sitting on a light beam (at age 16!), which led to the discovery of the absolute nature of the speed of light.

WEEK 3: The True Nature of Time - Does time shrink with motion? We will discuss the famous "light clock" thought experiment and how it leads to the notion that we are all time travelers.

WEEK 4: Simultaneity and Length Contraction - Learn why two events that happen at the same time for you may not happen at the same time for me. Is the shrinking of real space an illusion? Find out how to fit a 20-foot pole into a 10- foot barn.

WEEK 5: The World's Most Famous Equation - Are mass, momentum and energy affected by motion? We will discuss how the phrase "every breath you take, every move you make" tells us the true meaning of E=mc^{2}. What happens when matter and anti-matter collide?

WEEK 6: The Spacetime Continuum - We will discuss the concept of spacetime, the four dimensional "fabric of the universe". Learn how the math teacher who called Einstein a lazy dog discovered the spacetime interval; the universal ruler for all events in the cosmos.

Textbook: Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe, Vintage Books ISBN #0-375-70811-1 (pbk.) Price about $15

Optional: Richard Wolfson, Simply Einstein, Relativity Demtstified, Norton ISBN #0-393-05154-4