Friday, August 31, 2012

How Should we Celebrate Physics in 2015?

In 2005, physicists, students, and physics buffs worldwide celebrated the 100th anniversary of Einstein's Miracle Year.

In 2010, we reveled in the technical wonders that the laser brought us over the last 50 years.

It may seem a little early to think about it, but we need to start planning for the international physics event we'll be holding in 2015.

Some possible reasons to party come to mind pretty quick:

- X-rays were discovered in 1895, so 2015 will mark the 125'th anniversary of Rontgen's creepy photo of his wife's hand bones.

- Balmer came up with a proto-quantum explanation for the hydrogen spectrum, also in 1895

- In 1965 Penzias and Wilson discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background

- Maxwell showed how electromagnetic theory could explain light in 1864, but that would be odd to celebrate in 2015 (we could move things up to 2014, I guess)

There must be other reasons to celebrate of physics in 2015, or thereabouts. Let us know if you have a preference, or even better a whole new idea, and post it in the comments below. If you make a convincing argument for something really great, we'll give you a prize. (What that prize might be, we don't yet know. But you like surprises, right?).


  1. 1915 is 100 years of General Relativity.

  2. Of course! How could I overlook that one?

  3. I vote for the CMB, although I believe it was really discovered in 1964, so you'd have to move things up to 2014. You could advertise it as 50 years since the discovery of the Big Bang, since the CMB was the first measurement to truly confirm that the universe began with a bang (even though it was predicted decades earlier). It's pretty approachable for people of a wide range of ages. Who hasn't heard of the Big Bang? You could probably get some big name celebs to help out, like the sitcom folks (if the Big Bang show is still on the air), Neil deGrasse Tyson, the dude from MASH (I can't remember his name), Hawking, etc.

  4. Dennis Sciama said in the preface of his “the Physical Foundations of the General Relativity” that logical incompleteness of Newton’s laws of motion leads us to the Einstein’s General Relativity. Therefore some global and chronic problems in learning Newtonian mechanics have kept me engrossed for about 35 years. I think that we have not understood that logical incompleteness completely. Moreover, we do not pay sufficient attention to that incompleteness. Consequently, teachers’ negligence of logical aspects makes adverse effects on the learning and liking for physics. This is a major reason, I think, why physicists / teachers had to celebrate the year 2005 as the Einstein Year for the popularization of physics.

    Also I think that due attention to logic was not given while organizing various events of 2005. So, I hope that more attention will be paid next year in the Centenary of General Relativity – because some astrophysicists have a feeling that exo-planets are questioning the planetary theories.