physics resources

physics resourcesworld year of physics / rockefeller centenary

World Year of Physics/Rockefeller Anniversary Event:

Einstein’s Legacy: Culture, Science, and Technology in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Nov 14, 2005



Sponsored by: Physics Department, CERCA, Case Alumni Association, College of Arts and Sciences SAGES Program, School of Medicine, Baylor University Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching Program


2005 has been named by the United Nations and several other international organizations as the World Year of Physics, in honor of the ‘miracle year’, 1905, in which Albert Einstein wrote 5 seminal papers, each of which dramatically changed the way we think about the Universe. 1905 was also an important year for Physics in Cleveland, as the new Rockefeller Physics Laboratory was completed in that year. This building still stands today as the home of Physics at Case, having undergone extensive renovation in 1993-94, to accommodate the new research laboratories, teaching laboratories, offices and classrooms that have grown as the Physics Department has been revitalized in the past decade to become one of the most active mid-size departments in the country, and home to world class research programs from particle-astrophysics to nanotechnology and entrepreneurship.


To celebrate this dual centenary, and the recent designation of Case’s Physics Department as the one of the first World Year of Physics Historical Sites by the American Physical Society, in honor of the famous Michelson-Morley experiment, the Physics Department, in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, the Case Alumni Association, the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics, and the School of Medicine, have organized a signature event for the University and the city of Cleveland, to take place in Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, on the afternoon of Nov 14th, 2005.


Four internationally known figures, including two Nobel Laureates, and two bestselling authors, will come together, along with moderator Ira Flatow, host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation Science Friday, to discuss the impact of Einstein, and the science that followed him, on all aspects of our modern world.


The speakers for the event are:


Walter Isaacson, President of the Aspen Institute, and former Chair and CEO of CNN, Editorial Director of Time Magazine, and author of Kissinger: A Biography and the recent bestseller, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Isaacson, who was Editorial Director at Time when Einstein was chosen as Man of the Century, is currently completing a new biography of Einstein.


Lawrence M. Krauss, Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case, and also Director of the Office of Science, Public Policy, and Biotechnology at Case’s School of Medicine. Krauss is author of the bestselling book The Physics of Star Trek, and the newly released Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions From Plato to String Theory and Beyond. Winner of various international awards in Physics, he also frequently appears on radio and television, and writes regularly for the New York Times.


Harold Varmus, President of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, former Director, National Institutes of Health, and Nobel Laureate in Medicine, 1989. Dr. Varmus was awarded the Nobel Prize jointly with Michael Bishop for the discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes, and is well known for his broad and cogent perspective on many different areas of science and their impact upon society.


Frank Wilczek, Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics, MIT, Nobel Laureate in Physics, 2004, for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction. Dr. Wilczek is one of the world’s pre-eminent theoretical physicists and co-author of the popular book Longing for the Harmonies, and is also a recent recipient of Case’s Michelson-Morley Prize.


The day will begin at 12:30 with a panel discussion chaired by Flatow that will be webcast around the country. Questions from the audience, including students from Case’s first year SAGES program will make up a significant part of this session.


From roughly 2:00 till 5:00 separate presentations will be made by each of the speakers on different aspects of the day’s theme. These will then be followed by a general reception and book signing for the attendees, to run to 6:15 pm.


The event is free, and open to both the university community and to the general public. To reserve a seat register online by Nov 7.


Associated with the event will be a national contest, coordinated by the Physics Dept at Case and the American Physical Society, to choose the top 21 physicists of the 20th century, to complement the 21 names of physicists that were engraved on the top of the Rockefeller Building in 1905. The new names will be engraved either in Rockefeller, or a future building being planned to house additional physics facilities at Case.