U celebrates World Year of Physics

Anyone who has recently burned a CD of his or her favorite music has Einstein to thank.

His research on light particles was essential to the development of the laser in disc-burning machines, according to Craig Taylor, distinguished professor of physics.

The United Nations declared 2005 as World Year of Physics to celebrate such discoveries, focusing on Einstein’s three major papers, including his Theory of Relativity, and the U is joining in the festivities.

“This year will celebrate important advances in physics, and it’s not just for scientists, but society in general,” Taylor said.

To involve the community, the U will host events throughout the year, including a film series and lectures.

The first lecture is today at 7:30 p.m. in the ASB auditorium. MIT physicist Mildred Dresselhaus will discuss how nanotechnology can help develop sustainable energy.

On Thursday, she will give a mentoring session for women in science, and she will give a technical talk to the physics department.

“She’s very interested in conservation, the promotion of a hydrogen economy and the effects of greenhouse gasses,” Taylor said.

On top of such lectures, a film series will also run, featuring a documentary and a fictional film each night. Each night follows a theme. For the April 23 installment of the series, organizers will screen the documentary “Einstein Revealed,” organizers will also show “Real Genius.” That night will also include an Einstein Look-A-Like Contest.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun, and we hope the public will join us,” Taylor said.

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Upcoming Lecture Schedule

7:30 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 2, Aline Wilmot Skaggs Biology Bldg. Auditorium: “Addressing Grand Energy Challenges through Advanced Materials” with MIT physicist Mildred Dresselhaus.

Noon Thursday Feb. 3, Marriott Library’s Gould Auditorium: MIT physicist Mildred Dresselhaus will conduct a “Mentoring Session: Increasing Opportunities for Women in Science,” followed at 2 p.m. by a one-hour reception in the Women’s Resource Center, Union 293.

4 p.m. Thursday Feb. 3, 101 James Fletcher Bldg.: MIT physicist Mildred Dresselhaus will deliver a Department of Physics colloquium, “Recent Advances in the Photophysics of Carbon Nanotubes.” This is a technical lecture.

Upcoming Film Series Schedule

7 p.m. to midnight Saturday Feb. 19: “Origins” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday March 19: “Time Travel” and “Back to the Future.”

7 p.m. to midnight Saturday April 23: “Einstein Revealed,” followed by an Einstein Look-Alike Contest and then the film “Real Genius.”