APS News

Famous Equation Holds Big Birthday Celebration

The panel was moderated by APS President Marvin Cohen (in the photo at extreme right). Other panelists included (l to r): Paula S. Apsell, Walter Isaacson, David Kaiser, Gary Johnstone, and David Bodanis.
Photo credit: Kendra Rand 

September 27, 1905 was the day that Einstein's paper containing the equation E=mc,2 arrived at the editorial offices of Annalen der Physik. Exactly one hundred years later, a reception and preview showing of the docudrama "Einstein's Big Idea" were held at the National Academy of Sciences building across from the Mall in Washington. About six hundred attendees sampled E=mc2 birthday cake, watched the preview, and listened to a panel discussion about the equation and the making of the docudrama. The event was sponsored by the Department of Energy, Universities Research Association, the APS, the National Academies, and Washington PBS station WETA.

E=mc2 cake
Photo credit: Alan Chodos

The panel was moderated by APS President Marvin Cohen (in the photo at extreme right).Other panelists included (l to r): Paula S. Apsell, the Senior Executive Producer of NOVA and the Director of the Science Unit of WGBH in Boston; Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and former Managing Editor of TIME, who is at work on an Einstein biography; David Kaiser, associate professor of the history of science in MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society; Gary Johnstone, Producer/Director/Writer of "Einstein’s Big Idea"; and David Bodanis, author of the book E=mc2, on which "Einstein's Big Idea" is based. "Einstein's Big Idea" aired on NOVA on PBS stations around the country on Tuesday, October 11, at 8 pm.


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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff