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WVU to celebrate Einstein during month-long event

Over 100 years ago, Einstein predicted gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space and time caused by energetic processes in the universe. Just last year, two professors at West Virginia University helped discover gravitational waves and verify Einstein’s theory.

To celebrate these new discoveries, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, together with the School of Theatre and Dance, will host Celebrating Einstein, a month-long series of events that includes dance lectures, symphony performances and planetarium showings.

The series will run from March 31 to April 23.

“People learn differently,” said Kathryn Williamson, professor and director of the WVU Planetarium. “We are trying to reach people who might learn differently than someone who can learn from a lecture and help them feel connected to science.”

The main event, “A Shout Across Time,” communicates the beauty and significance of Einstein’s theories through danced lectures, symphony performances and interviews with renowned physicists. “A Shout Across Time” is April 21-23 at the WVU Creative Arts Center, and is free and open to the public.

Williamson said she hopes that by seeing Einstein’s theories physically demonstrated people will be able to understand and feel a part of science and our universe.

“Einstein was an inspirational scientist,” Williamson said. “He engaged in ‘thought experiments’ and his theories were what was logical to him. He refused to accept the status quo if it didn’t make sense to him. Without Einstein, we wouldn’t have the theory of General Relativity to open a whole new way of studying the universe through gravitational waves. The detection of gravitational waves is akin to Galileo turning a telescope to the night sky for the very first time. Who knows where it will lead us?" 

The “Celebrating Einstein” schedule is:

Friday, March 31

7:30 p.m. - "Fast Radio Bursts: The Story So Far" presented by Duncan Lorimer, professor in the WVU Physics and Astronomy Department, in White Hall G09

8:30 p.m. - Einstein Planetarium Night and Rooftop Telescope Observing

Friday, April 7

7:30 p.m. - “When Black Holes Collide! Gravitational Waves and Other Tales from the Horizon” presented by Zach Etienne, assistant professor in the WVU Math Department, in White Hall G09 

8:30 p.m. - Einstein Planetarium Night and Rooftop Telescope Observing

Saturday, April 8

10 a.m. -"Robotics Day" Einstein Activities at Spark! Imagination and Science Center

Monday, April 10

7:30 p.m. - “Einstein Unyielding: A Catalyst in a New Berlin” presented by KatherineAaslestad, professor in the WVU History Department, in White Hall G09

8:30 p.m. -Einstein Planetarium Night and Rooftop Telescope Observing 

Thursday, April 13

7 p.m. - "Beginning the Exploration of the Universe with Gravitational Waves," Cooper Lecture presented by Rainer Weiss, emeritus professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at the Mountainlair Gluck Theatre. This lecture is made possibly on behalf of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

Monday, April 17

7 p.m. - "little green men,” documentary by the Pulsar Search Collaboratory, in White Hall G09

Tuesday, April 18

7:30 p.m. - “NANOGrav: Searching for Gravitational Waves with Pulsars” presented by Maura McLaughlin, professor in the WVU Physics and Astronomy Department, in White Hall G09

Wednesday, April 19

7 p.m. "LIGO, A Passion for Understanding” documentary featured in the Mountainlair Gluck Theatre

8:30 p.m. - Einstein Planetarium Night and Rooftop Telescope Observing, White Hall

Thursday, April 20

3:30 p.m. - "Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Turning Imagination into Discovery," presented by Joan Centrella, Deputy Director of the Astrophysics Science Division of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, in White Hall G09 

8:30 p.m. - Einstein Planetarium Night and Rooftop Telescope Observing 

Friday, April 21

5 p.m. - Celebrating Einstein Opening Reception at the WVU Art Museum

5 p.m. - Einstein Artwork & Demonstrations featured in the Creative Arts Center lobby

 7:30 p.m. -  “A Shout Across Time,” dance lecture and interview featuring Richard Price in the Davis Theatre at the Creative Arts Center 

Saturday, April 22 

8 a.m. - Space Race Fun Run registration, WVU Student Recreation Center, race begins at 9 a.m.

2 p.m. –  “A Shout Across Time,” dance lecture and interview featuring Shane Larson, in the Davis Theatre at the Creative Arts Center

4 p.m. - Einstein Artwork & Demonstrations featured in the Creative Arts Center lobby

4:30 p.m. - “A Shout Across Time,” community symphony, in the Falbo Theatre at the Creative Arts Center

7:30 p.m. - “A Shout Across Time,” dance lecture and interview featuring Shane Larson, in the Davis Theatre at the Creative Arts Center

Sunday, April 23

12 p.m. - Einstein Artwork & Demonstrations featured in the Creative Arts Center lobby

2 p.m. - “A Shout Across Time,” dance lecture and interview featuring Janna Levin, in the Davis Theatre at the Creative Arts Center

4:30 p.m.  - “A Shout Across Time” community symphony, in the Falbo Theatre at the Creative Arts Center

For a full schedule of events, visit Einstein.wvu.edu. Celebrating Einstein was originally produced by Montana State University and the eXtreme Gravity Institute. The WVU Celebrating Einstein event is partially supported by the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium. 

For more information, contact Kathryn Williamson at kewilliamson@mail.wvu.edu.

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