Past Event

The History of Relativity

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In the standard history of Special Relativity, Einstein’s theories are said to have been made possible by his disconnection from the standard physics and technology of the day. Furthermore, his “lowly job” at the patent office is seen as essentially irrelevant to his work on relativity. Galison will argue, on the contrary, that Einstein’s patent work located him squarely in the middle of a wealth of technological developments, cultural discussions about the meaning of time, and important patents that accompanied the coordination of clocks along railway lines throughout the cities of central Europe. By understanding the history of coordinated clocks, we come to understand the “modern” of “modern physics” — the intersection point of physics, technology, and philosophy.

Speaker: Peter L. Galison, Mallinckrodt Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University and author of Einstein’s Clocks, Poincarés Maps: Empires of Time.

Please Note: We will release reserved seats 10 minutes before all IHC programs begin if registered attendees have not yet arrived.

For more information, please contact the Council at 312.422.5580.