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Calvin Joins Physics Celebration
September 20, 2005

Calvin College will take part in a world-wide celebration of physics - yes, physics - next week.

It will host Dr. Martin Klein on Thursday, September 29 for a talk on the 20th century's most famous physicist, Albert Einstein. The talk, "Einstein and His World," will be given at 7:30 pm in room 010 of the Calvin College Science Building.

In 1905 Einstein published papers presenting new ideas in statistical physics, in quantum physics and his special relativity which forever changed man's view of space and time and produced the most famous equation in all of science: E=mc^2 (pronounced "E equals m c squared").

Says Calvin College physics professor Steve Steenwyk: "The consequences of Einstein's work are still being worked out today in esoteric theories of the universe and in practical inventions, from lasers to global positioning systems."

The upcoming talk at Calvin highlights several events planned for Calvin's campus this fall on the topic of physics as part of "The World Year of Physics 2005," a United Nations endorsed, international celebration of physics.

"Around the world," says Steenwyk, "people are celebrating physics, particularly the pioneering contributions of Einstein one hundred years ago. So we are honored to be part of the celebration and to have one of the world's foremost physicists in Martin Klein to be part of our event. It is hoped that this year-long celebration will bring the excitement of physics to the public and will inspire a new generation of scientists."

Steenwyk says that Klein, who is chief editor of the multi-volume "Collected Papers of Albert Einstein," will deliver a talk that is intended for all in the general public, from high school up, who have an interest in Einstein and his contributions to our understanding of the physical world.

Klein is a professor emeritus of physics and the history of science at Yale University. His own discoveries in physics included major contributions to the study of statistical mechanics and the magnetization of thin films. As a historian of science, Dr. Klein became a leading expert on the origins of the Quantum Theory and for ten years served as senior editor of the Einstein Papers Project at Princeton and California Institute of Technology. He appeared on PBS's Nova series on Einstein and is noted for his ability to communicate the history of physics to a broad audience.

He is coming to Calvin thanks to the connections of Calvin chemistry professor Arie Leegwater, the college's resident expert on the history of science and someone who has known Klein for many years.

Klein will deliver a second talk, intended for a college level audience, on Friday, September 30 at 3:30 pm in Science Building 110. That talk is titled "New Paths to the Depths of Physics: Einstein in 1905."