Abstract: Einstein’s name is widely associated with the “atom bomb,” via the formula E = MC2. Less widely known is that he played a key role in providing evidence that atoms exist at all. One of Einstein’s early papers was an analysis of Brownian motion, the ceaseless dance of tiny particles, such as pollen grains, suspended in a fluid. The dance of pollen grains, Einstein realized, was evidence that they are being buffeted by smaller particles, beyond microscopic resolution. This talk will be about the ingenuity required to turn the visible into evidence about the invisible.
“Einstein and the Atom” was the final lecture in a series co-sponsored with the London Public Library, presented in celebration of the centenary of general relativity. Video of the other lectures, by Chris Smeenk, Stathis Psillos, and Doreen Fraser have also been posted online.
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