the friend online
28 November 2008

Einstein and Eddington BBC2 22 November - preview

“We’ve all heard about Einstein, but what about this other chap?”

Every schoolchild knows of Albert Einstein
  • Do they know who Arthur Eddington was? Unlikely
  • In every big story there will be two voices (at least) – a mover and an enabler, but one may well be heard louder
  • In the story of penicillin, for example, everyone knows that it was Alexander Fleming who discovered the mould which became a life-saving drug, but how many know the role of the Australian scientist Howard Florey who got penicillin into hospital wards?

    And so it was with Albert Einstein and Arthur Eddington
  • English science was in the shadow of Isaac Newton when these two geniuses were starting their challenging work at the beginning of the first world war
  • ‘We know how the universe works, we just need to measure it’, says Oliver Lodge, one of the luminaries of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • The Quaker astrophysicist Eddington was the director of the Cambridge Observatory and ‘the best measuring man in England’
  • So he was sent to discover why the German military were interested in the work of an unknown scientist called Albert Einstein
  • The answer was not to the academic establishment’s liking, however
  • Newton was about to be overturned
  • The universe was going to be much harder to live in as previous certainty crumbled


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    Einstein and Eddington BBC2 22 November

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