*Questions for the preface:* What is the book about?
The book is about the equation E=mc2
*Questions for the preface:* What is NOT the topic of the book?
It is neither a biography of Einstein nor a full account of relativity.
*Questions for the preface:* Why is there a central section about WW2
This is because scientists realized that Einstein’s equation might be used for bomb-making shortly before the outbreak of WW2.
*Questions for part 1:* What was Einstein’s economic and family situation around 1900-1905?
Einstein was an employee at the Bern patent office. He was looking for a teaching job but couldn’t find one. He was married and had a child.
*Questions for part 1:* How well did Einstein do in his final physics university exams?
His university exam marks were only average.
*Questions for part 1:* Where did Einstein do his research?
In his office at the Patent Office and in his free time. As his theory was purely theoretical, he did not need a laboratory.
*Questions for part 1:* Where exactly did Einstein publish his ground-breaking formula?
He published his article in the journal Annalen der Physik in 1905, and the formula appeared in a three-page supplement
*E is for Energy:* What kind of apprenticeship did Michael Faraday make?
*E is for Energy:* How did he get in touch with Humphrey Davy?
He attended Davy’s lectures, made book with lecture notes
*E is for Energy:* What was the relationship between Humphrey Davy and Michael Faraday like?
Davy didn’t trust him because Faraday didn’t have a formal education
*E is for Energy:* How much formal education did Faraday have?
None, was not skilled at mathematics
*E is for Energy:* What explains Faraday’s ability to understand the connection between magnetism and electricity?
He had no knowledge about Newtonian physics;He belonged to a sect with a strong Christian belief in God being everywhere and circular trust, this helped him discover the circular forces of electromagnetism
*E is for Energy:* What does the Law of the Conservation of Energy mean?
There is a fixed amount of energy in a closed system; can change in form, but stays the same amount.
*E is for Energy:* What new energy source did Einstein discover and what effect does this have on the Law of the Conversion of Energy?
Energy in mass, there is no fixed amount of energy
*=:* When were most typographical symbols created?
*=:* How did Einstein use the = symbol ‘like a telescope’?
= used as ‘like pointing at a different area’ where energy could also be found
*M is for Mass:* How is Lavoisier’s character described?
*M is for Mass:* What did Lavoisier discover when analysing the burning/rusting of metals?
It got heavier (because of oxygen added)
*M is for Mass:* Which famous scientist had already developed a theory of mass and movement in the 1600s?
*M is for Mass:* Why was Lavoisier so unpopular during the French revolution?
He built a wall around Paris and asked for taxed
*M is for Mass:* What was Einstein taught in the 1890s about mass and energy?
Two separate domains/ law of conservation applies to each
*M is for Mass:* How did Einstein establish a link between the two domains?
By looking at the speed of light
*C is for Celeritas:* Who was the first scientist to try to measure the speed of light?
*C is for Celeritas:* How did Ole Roemer discover the speed of light?
He analysed the movement of the moon Io of Jupiter
*C is for Celeritas:* What is the explanation given for the fact that Roemer discovered the speed of light?
He was an outsider, not part of the astronomy establishment
*C is for Celeritas:* How did Cassini react to Roemer’s success?
Did not accept Roemer’s findings
*C is for Celeritas:* How fast is the speed of light?
*C is for Celeritas:* In what ways were Faraday and Maxwell similar?
*C is for Celeritas:* What is the inner property of light?
*C is for Celeritas:* In what ways is light different from other movement?
It’s the speed limit in nature
*C is for Celeritas:* Why is it impossible to catch up with the speed of light?
Because mass increases as it goes faster
*C is for Celeritas:* Why is -273° the coldest possible temperature?
It is the absolute zero: no movement of atoms
*C is for Celeritas:* What happens to matter approaching the speed of light?
It increases in size
*C is for Celeritas:* “Energy does not stand alone, and neither does mass. But the sum of ______________ will always remain constant.” What is in the gap?
energy and mass
*C is for Celeritas:* Why did nobody before Einstein notice the connection between mass and energy?
It’s hardly noticeable in ordinary movement.
*To the power of 2:* What was Emilie du Châtelet like?
*To the power of 2:* What was the dispute between Leibniz and Newton about?
Newton: E=mv Leibniz: E=mv2
*To the power of 2:* Why was this also a religious conflict?
Because Leibniz wanted to show that God planned it right
*To the power of 2:* How did du Châtelet prove that Leibniz was right?
She looked at an experiment of dropped weights and found that squaring described the energy effect
*To the power of 2:* Why is squaring the velocity of what you measure such an accurate way to describe what happens in nature?
*To the power of 2:* What does it mean for mass when c2 is such a large figure?
There is a lot of energy inside!
*To the power of 2:* Mass is simply the ultimate type of condensed or concentrated _______.
*Einstein and the Equation:* When and where did Einstein publish the equation?
Summer 1905, Bern, Annalen der Physik
*Einstein and the Equation:* What material discovered in the 1890s gave hints about the equation?
Radium (radioactive material)
*Einstein and the Equation:* Who was Marie Curie and how did she die?
Physicist exploring radioactive material, died of cancer (leukemia), triggered from Radium exposure
*Einstein and the Equation:* Why are atomic bombs so powerful?
Chain reaction, because c is such a huge number, far more energy is released
*Einstein and the Equation:* What was so ground-breaking and amazing about Einstein’s discovery? (p. 80, 84)
Mass and energy were never combined. Einstein was like Newton able to produce a complete theory of the physical world.
*Einstein and the Equation:* How precisely did he discover it? (p. 80 top)
Just dreamily thinking about what is possible.
*Einstein and the Equation:* How could you explain the theory of relativity easily? (p. 83)
Spaceship approaching the speed of light and swelling up in mass, or loudspeaker with sound
*Einstein and the Equation:* What does the term ‘relativity’ NOT mean? (p. 84)
Relativity is accurate and precise and rule-governed/it’s not arbitrary or subjective
*Einstein and the Equation:* How did Einstein’s upbringing and background help him discover ‘relativity’?
He was Jewish/from a minority/ Jewish tradition of interpreting scriptures/ parents encouraged his questioning nature/ He questioned his university physics teaching as he had questioned his religious teaching.
*Einstein and the Equation:* How did Einstein’s family life develop as his theory became gradually accepted?
As he became professor of physics in Berlin (developing his theory of relativity further) he got separated from his wife.
*Into the atom:* How is Ernest Rutherford’s character described?
New Zealander, great leader, good at working with assistants
*Into the atom:* What break-through discovery about the atom did he make?
He discovered the nucleus and that most of the atom is empty space.
*Into the atom:* Why did scientists assume that a lot of energy was hidden in the nucleus?
p. 95: There must be a lot of hidden energy, holding the protons together in the nucleus.
*Into the atom:* Who was James Chadwick and what did he discover?
English scientist, neutron
*Into the atom:* Who was Enrico Fermi?
Italian scientist who managed to slow down neutrons so that they would attach to nuclei.
*Into the atom:* What important technique did he provide in 1934?
slow down neutrons
*Quiet in the midday snow:* What happened to Hahn and Meitner’s work in 1938?
Meitner had to leave Germany, and worked by letter correspondence with Hahn
*Quiet in the midday snow:* When did Meitner first meet Einstein and what did she learn there?
1909, when Meitner heard about the revolutionary break-through theory e=mc2 for the first time
*Quiet in the midday snow:* How did Meitner manage to explain the Meitner-Hahn-Strassmann experiments in 1938?
She managed to explain the ‘decay’ of uranium, splitting into two separate particles of Barium and Krypton with a loss of mass (release of energy according to the formula).
*Germany’s turn:* Why did Einstein write a letter to the American president in 1939 and what was the reply?
He warned him about the advances in physics and the dangers of a German bomb. The president was unimpressed.
*Germany’s turn:* Why did the USA not pursue plans to build a bomb, while the Germans did?
The Americans were backward-looking, the Germans were looking towards a bright, golden future
*Germany’s turn:* Who was Heisenberg and why did he get in trouble with the SS?
Heisenberg, world-class leading phycisist (uncertainty principle, quantum mechanics)/ because he had worked with Jews
*Germany’s turn:* What saved him?
His mother wrote a letter to the mother of H. Himmler (director of SS)
*Germany’s turn:* What was Heisenberg’s bomb design based on?
Fermi’s method (using water to slow down neutrons)
*Germany’s turn:* What happened at Heisenberg’s first test in early 1941?
Nothing happened. (Not enough uranium)
*Germany’s turn:* How did the Germans produce Uranium dust?
Using concentration camp workers
*Germany’s turn:* When did the Germans get the first successful test results?
*Germany’s turn:* When did the Americans start to develop their bomb and what was the name of the project?
Autumn 1941, Manhattan Project
*Germany’s turn:* What was superior about the American bomb design?
The Germans used flat Uranium sheets, while the American engineers used spheres, maximising neutron-uranium core contact points
*Germany’s turn:* What did the Allied forces do to win the race for the bomb?
Destroy the heavy water plant in Norway
*Norway:* How did the Allied forces try to sabotage the German bomb project?
English parachutists were sent in,
*Norway:* What happened in the first attack on the Norwegian plant?
but the planes crashed and the paratroopers were executed
*Norway:* What was different in the second sabotage attempt?
Norwegians managed to get to the plant on x-country skis and blew up the heavy water storage tanks.
*America’s turn:* What was Oppenheimer like and how did he motivate his team?
A bit sensitive, not so confident, but able to motivate scientists
*America’s turn:* Which two ways to build a bomb did America pursue?
Enriched uranium, Plutonium
*America’s turn:* How did the scientists try to make Plutonium explode?
Sphere of Plutonium with explosives from all around, ‘implosion’
*America’s turn:* What news did Niels Bohr bring from Europe in February 1944?
The Germans are very close to building the bomb
*America’s turn:* What kind of sabotage did the Norwegian Haukelid do?
He sank the ferry with the heavy water from Norway.
*America’s turn:* What did finally happen to Germany’s bomb building capacity?
It never reached maturity
*America’s turn:* What happened to Heisenberg?
He became a prisoner of war, and returned to being professor of physics in Germany in 1946
*America’s turn:* What happened to Oppenheimer after the war?
He was spied on and he regretted the use of the bomb.
*America’s turn:* Which two opposing views were there in the US concerning the deployment of the bomb in Japan?
What’s the best strategy? Use the bomb and hope for complete surrender or wait and negotiate.
*America’s turn:* Why was the bomb deployed?
The President’s advisor was ‘old-fashioned’, saying the army builds bombs to use them.
*8:16 A.M. – Over Japan:* Why was it triggered at 2000 ft. above ground?
At ground level it would dig a big hole in the ground/ maximum effect on the surface
*8:16 A.M. – Over Japan:* What is the condition inside the triggered bomb compared to?
The centre of the sun
*8:16 A.M. – Over Japan:* How much heat is produced?
Several million degrees Celsius
*8:16 A.M. – Over Japan:* What happens on the ground?
Heat wave, vacuum and an incredibly strong storm, radioactive fall-out
*The fires of the sun:* What is the topic of this chapter? (p. 173)
How the equation controls how stars ‘work’ and how life will end.
*The fires of the sun:* What did astronomers believe about the sun’s content at the time Einstein discovered that E=mc2?
The sun is made up of 66% iron.
*The fires of the sun:* How does a spectroscope work?
Every element gives off a distinct visual signal: spectroscope breaks the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation into various wavelengths
*The fires of the sun:* What was Cecilia Payne’s academic career?
University of Cambridge (England), no doctorate for women, went to Harvard, wrote a Ph.D.
*The fires of the sun:* How did Payne come up with a different interpretation of the spectroscope lines?
She re-interpreted the spectroscope lines (different amount of ionization at different temperatures): the sun consists mostly of Hydrogen
*The fires of the sun:* How did the astronomy establishment react to her findings?
They didn’t believe it at first, but four years later it became accepted.
*The fires of the sun:* What happens inside the sun to release so much energy?
4 Hydrogen atoms fuse to one helium atom, releasing lots of energy in the process
*Creating the earth:* What is the leading question of this chapter? (p. 185)
How were the different elements on earth created?
*Creating the earth:* How did Hoyle explain the creation of the elements?
Implosion of stars create immense temperatures, squeeze larger nuclei of elements together
*Creating the earth:* Where did he get his inspiration for the theory of implosion?
Atomic bomb design (implosion of Plutonium bomb)
*Creating the earth:* What keeps our planet hot at the core and causes continental shifts (earthquakes)?
Radioactive blasts at the core of the earth, high temperatures which lead to continental shifts and earthquakes
*Creating the earth:* What examples of modern human applications of E=mc2 are given?
Atomic bomb, submarines, reactors (power stations), smoke detectors, glowing exit signs, PET scans, C-14 clock (archaeological dating)
*Creating the earth:* What will happen to the sun in five billion years?
Hydrogen will burn out in 5 billion years, helium sun expands, too hot on earth, Helium will burn out, Earth will cool, and the sun will lose its Gravitiational pull, earth will fly away
*Creating the earth:* What concept did Chandra come up with on a trip from India to England in 1930?
*Creating the earth:* What will happen to planet Earth in six billion years?
Earth will fly away from sun and be swallowed up by a black hole.