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UIS to present Einstein centennial lecture

September 7, 2005

SPRINGFIELD – “Einstein’s Insights: How They Shaped Our Modern View of the Universe” will be the subject of a lecture by Charles Schweighauser, professor emeritus of Astronomy/Physics, English, and Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, to be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 16, in conference room F, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center at UIS.  The program is free and open to the public.

Schweighauser will deliver this non-technical lecture in observance of the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. The university presents this discussion of one of humanity’s greatest minds as part of its public affairs mission.

Related sites

Astronomy/Physics at UIS
The Einstein Centennial

In 1905, when he was a 26-year-old patent office clerk, Albert Einstein published five papers in Annalen der Physik (Annals of Physics) which have since formed much of the scientific basis for our current understanding of the physical universe. This year, 1905, is referred to as Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis or his “wonder year.” Schweighauser will explore these papers, paying particular attention to the two that deal with relativity and showing how Einstein’s thinking has worked its way into other aspects of contemporary culture.

Einstein proposed that no matter how fast one is moving, light will always appear to travel at the same velocity. The speed of light is thus a fundamental constant of nature and cannot be exceeded. His new theory became known as the Special Theory of Relativity and led to the understanding that space and time are intimately linked.

“‘Special Relativity’ gives deep insights into the nature of the universe,” said Schweighauser. “It also deeply influenced the thinking of 20th century artists. Because artists reflect the intellectual mood of their time, they are windows into contemporary culture.”

In his lecture, Schweighauser will illustrate this point through slides of works by Salvador Dali and other well-known artists.

In 2003, Schweighauser taught a course on “Science, Mathematics, and Art” for the Illinois Humanities Council.  At UIS, he teaches in the English and Astronomy programs and directs the university’s three observatories. For many years he hosted the university’s popular Star Parties and in the 1960s he served as director of the St. Louis Planetarium. This fall marks his 33rd year at UIS.

For more information, contact Schweighauser at 206-6721.



    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.