Einstein Year kicks off in Berlin
TWIG - Einstein Year was launched in Germany on Wednesday as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder hailed the physicist famous for his E=mc2 equation as a man who "revolutionized science and changed the world."
Schroeder was at the German Historical Museum in Berlin to kick off a year of events marking of the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and the 50th anniversary of his death, including tours, a scientific conference and a major exhibition.
The aim is to focus attention on the life and works of a scientist and thinker with a political commitment and a social conscience, whose innovative ideas continue to exert an influence on the world today.
"Albert Einstein was more than an exemplary scientist," Schroeder said. "As an intellectual, Einstein felt a special sense of social responsibility.
"To the end, Einstein — who again and again set himself against the most evil anti-Semitic hatemongering — fought against the strengthening of the Nazis and for the defence of democracy."
The Einstein year is part of the German government’s innovation initiative as well as its contribution to the "World Year of Physics" declared by UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural organization. The program of events is being organized and supported by national and international partners.
Berlin and Potsdam, where Einstein lived and worked up until his emigration to the United States, will be the primary locations for events held in connection with the anniversary year.
Organizers of Einstein Year hope that the physicist’s genius will inspire more German schoolchildren to pursue scientific careers.
"Let’s use this chance to develop a new scientific culture in our country over the coming months," said Schroeder.
Born in the German city of Ulm in 1879, Einstein, who was Jewish, escaped Germany one month before Adolf Hitler took power in 1933. He settled in the United States and eventually became an American citizen.
His theories about space, time and relativity revolutionized science and changed the way we view the world — and earned him a Nobel Prize for physics in 1921.
Key players in the observances planned for the year 2005 are the Max Planck Society, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the German Physics Society, the House of Brandenburg-Prussian History in Potsdam and the Einstein Forum.
Numerous research establishments, universities, foundations,
and companies will be involved with activities of their own. Theaters and
museums are also among a growing number of participants from Germany,
Israel, Switzerland and the United States.
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