Einsteins year 2005

February 3, 2006

The goal of the project is to acquaint a wide audience with Albert Einstein, probably the most important scientist of the twentieth century and a prominent individual in con-temporary history. Taking Einstein’s pioneering theoretical work as a starting point, the exhibition aims to present the change it wrought on historical conceptions of the world, while depicting the dynamics of the development of science in a generally intelligible way. The course of Einstein’s life is also illuminated against the background of the polit-ical and societal upheavals of his age. The project builds a bridge between the histories of science and culture to reveal to the visitor a new perspective on Einstein’s biography – one that goes beyond his traditional image as an exceptional, ingenious scientist. The exhibition also hopes to motívate its audience to particípate actively in the process of societal innovation and to dismantle both overconfidence in science and irrational hos-tility to science. These various objectives are approached by dividing the exhibition into three stations:
Worldview and Knowledge Acquisition Einstein – His Life’s Path Einstein’s World Today

What is the nature of the world, and what can we humans understand about the world? These fundamental questions have occupied hu manity for millennia. Scientists, theologians, philoso-phers and laymen have approached these mysteries from different perspectives and developed competing conceptions of the world. Einstein’s scientific work also emerged from this tradition, leading to radical changes in our understanding of basic concepts like space, time and matter and ushered in a paradigm shift in our phys-ical conception of the world.
Therefore the start of the exhibition is dedicated to the nature of conceptions of the world, the dynamics of their transformation and the societal reception of such epochal changes.

Models of the cosmos: This área guides the visitor from simple conceptions about the structure of the world as a whole to modern scientific global models
Einstein’s life begins in 1879, in an epoch marked by industrial and creative awakening, and ends in the shadow of the superpower confrontation on the threshold of nuclear war. His eventful life takes him through prívate tragedias and revolutionary historical change. He travels through many nations and lives in many countries, ultimately achieving the status of a cultural icón, as someone who shaped the world of the twentieth century.
Ibis part of the exhibition is intended to impart to the visitor the historical context of Einstein’s work. Here we meet Einstein as a child of his time, starting in the bourgeois world of the family electric business; moving on to the world of the Swiss Bohéme, where he found himself torn between a student’s arrogance and established, specialized science; to the world of the Prussian élite, suspended between a nationalism willing to resort to violence and pacifistic protest; to the world of Judaism, torn between anti-Semitism and Zionist awakening; and finally to the world of emisration. characterized bv militant democracv and met with nolit-

Setting of a childhood: In this room the visitor views exhibits, documents and media stations set ¡n scene to depict the world in which Einstein grew up: A world of industrial awakening, the emancipation of the Jewish bourgeoisie, and of a growing self-confidence among a second culture
The exhibition closes as it began: It confronts the visito: with the influence of Einstein’s work on the changing conceptions of the world and the resulting changas in his own view of life and the way he understood himself. Just as the historical dimensión of his work was presented at the outset, this station dis-cusses its effects on contemporary science and culture. Here the focus is on the way natural science conceptions of the world are constructed in the present, and on the pract-ical requirements and consequences of today’s science. This gives the visitor an oppor-tunity for critical reflection, and a chance to see his or her own world from a new per spective.
Through Interactive experiments, animated films and broadcasts from research institu tions, the exhibition will bring the visitor closer and more authentically to the present reality of science than the mass media can. The project is systematically embedded in

The composition of the world on the micro level: Einstein deduces from the theory of relativity a virtual Einstein WOrld in the Internet to ensure that its
that energy and mass are equivalen! – a theoretical basis for understanding nuclear fission effect Qn the perceptiorl Of modem SCience continúes well in nuclear power plants and the fusión of hydrogen to helium in the sun. With the fusión
experiment Wendelstein 7-X, physicists hope to demónstrate that nuclear fission can be bey°nd the duration of the exhibition.


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