I’m currently touring the country with my Einstein’s Legacy presentation. If you would like me to come to speak to your school or community, please contact me as soon as possible.
A dynamic, multimedia PowerPoint presentation suitable for all audiences aged ~12 – 120.
Einstein’s Legacy is a 45 minute touring public lecture, composed and delivered by Michelle Supper on behalf of the British Friends of the Hebrew University. Michelle then fields questions from the audience for around 15 minutes, taking the whole to a length of 1hour. While the lecture complements the Einstein: Man of the Century exhibition, it is self-contained, and can stand independently as an event in its own right. It is offered free to schools and community groups, with all costs being met by funding from the Hanadiv Charitable Foundation and the Institute of Physics.
Albert Einstein was not just a physicist: He was a genius, a husband, a father, a musician, a cultural icon, a Zionist and a pacifist. In recognition of his multi-faceted personality and colossal scientific achievements, the editors of Time magazine declared him their ‘Man of the Century’. Einstein’s Legacy presents the multifarious aspects of Einstein’s life to the audience in an accessible, entertaining and engaging way.
The lecture begins by examining Einstein’s childhood, family life and inspirations. The subjects of his three ground-breaking 1905 research papers – Brownian motion, the photoelectric effect, and general relativity – are then introduced and described.
The impact of his research and the influence that Einstein has had on society is then explored, and we will see how Einstein has affected our perception of science as a whole. The dreadful consequences of relativity are then explained and set in a historical context.
Finally, Einstein’s legacy is revealed. Evidently, he presented humanity with a new understanding of the Universe, and has had a cultural influence far beyond any other scientist, but how did he want to be remembered? What was the legacy he chose for himself?
The presentation is suitable for anyone aged ~14 to adult; I do alter the delivery to suit the audience. While the talk does contain some scientific content, this is presented in a manner which is entertaining, un-mathematical, and easy to understand.
Information for Schools
Although everyone has heard of Einstein, most ascribe to the ‘myth’ of him as the eccentric, untouchable genius. Very few really understand his science, or know anything of his character, motivations or family life. This has had an unfortunate effect; in that many people now believe that, in order to be a scientist, one must be a mad male genius: Girls and ‘normal’ people need not apply.
The Legacy presentation is designed address these issues by introducing Einstein as a well rounded and approachable human being. It dispels the Einstein myth, by showing the great scientist as a young man, and so illustrating that scientists don’t have to be old or mad. The widely held gender stereotype is questioned and broken down, opening the possibility for all members of the audience to further their interest in science, and inspiring them to do so.
By exploring different theories, the presentation demonstrates that science is not set in stone, and that anyone has the ability to make discoveries and contribute to knowledge. It leaves the audience with a better understanding of Einstein’s contribution, and also makes the audience aware that is possible for two people to have very different, but equally correct, ideas about the same subject.
Finally, it reveals Einstein’s connection with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and in doing so raises awareness of his ongoing legacy and contribution to science, tolerance and world peace.
The science covered within the presentation is suitable for both GCSE and A-Level physics students. By introducing Einstein’s three 1905 papers, it supports and enhances the syllabus in the following areas:
- Brownian Motion: kinetic theory, thermodynamics, descriptions of systems
- The Photoelectric Effect: waves, photons, wave-particle duality of light
- Relativity: limits to Newton’s laws, black holes, curved space-time
Real-world applications of these principles are also discussed.
Feedback from school pupils and teachers has so far been overwhelmingly positive. Teachers have reported an increased enthusiasm for physics in class following the presentation, and several students have directly approached Michelle for careers advice in physics having been inspired by Einstein’s Legacy.