Einstein’s Big Idea

What was Einstein’s brilliant insight about the speed of light and the nature of time?
The rate at which time passes can speed up or slow down, but the speed of light is constant.

What happens in 1905—Einstein’s miracle year?
He published five important physics papers–including E=mc2.

What was the one true constant in the new universe created by Einstein’s new ideas.
Speed of light.

As an object is accelerated toward “c” by adding more energy, what happens to its mass?
It increases.

What was the reaction of the international physics community in the first year after Einstein published his five papers?
There was basically no reaction.

Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn worked together in the study of radioactive elements. What was unusual about them working together?
Lise was a physicist and Otto was a chemist.

Why did Meitner and Hahn use uranium for their research?
It was the largest known element.

What did Meitner and Hahn hope to do by hitting an uranium nucleus with a neutron?
Create a larger atom.

Why did radium and barium show up in Meitner and Hahn’s experiments
They were splitting the nucleus of uranium into smaller atoms.

Who won the Nobel Prize for the work of Meitner and Hahn?
Only Hahn.

Why did Meitner have to leave Germany?
She was Jewish and the Nazi’s would have arrested her.

What did Einstein mean when he said “I want to know how God created this world. I want to know His thoughts.”
Einstein was interested in big ideas, not the nature of a particular element.

Who was the famous chemist who gave Michael Faraday his first big break by hiring him to work as a lab assistant?
Humphry Davy.

Who was the famous chemist who tried to stop Michael Faraday from publishing his ideas on electromagnetism?
Humphry Davy.

What did Faraday understand about current flowing through a wire that no one else did?
Flowing current creates an electromagnetic field around the wire.

What practical invention came directly from Faraday’s work?
The electric motor.

Which scientist did the math that helped people appreciate Faraday’s ideas?
Maxwell.

What was the effect of Faraday’s social status have on his efforts to become a scientist?
He was working class at a time when only gentlemen were scientists.

What was EMILIE DU CHÂTELET ‘s contribution to Einstein’s famous equation
She helped with the concept of squaring the velocity.

What barriers did EMILIE DU CHÂTELET have to overcome in her efforts to become a scientist?
Women of her time were not considered to have the qualities to be good scientists.

ANTOINE LAVOISIER is famous for developing which law?
The Law of Conservation of Mass.

What is “c” ?
c is for celeritas, Latin for “swiftness”, the speed of light.

How do we measure the amount of matter in an object?
Mass.

What is energy?
The capacity to do work.

How fast is the speed of light?
About 300,000 kilometers/second.

Lavoisier lost his life at the end of the show. Why?
He was the chief tax collector for Paris at the time of the French Revolution.

What other big idea did Faraday develop besides the concept of electromagnetism?
Energy.

How was the work of Einstein and Meitner used during World War II?
To develop the atomic bomb.

What is the process of fission?
The splitting of large atomic nuclei. Some of the mass becomes energy.

What is the process of fusion?
The fusing together of the nuclei of smaller atoms to make larger ones. Some of the mass becomes energy.

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