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2010 Summer Meeting

2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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The Physics in Einstein's Dreams
  Location: HC 3048
  Date: Monday, Aug.1
  Time: 1:10 PM -1:20 PM
  Author: Donald Franceschetti, The University of Memphis
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: Einstein's Dreams by physicist/author Alan Lightman has for years been a popular selection for high school and college summer reading programs and for student presentations as narrative theater. The book describes a number of "dreams" that the young Swiss patent clerk Albert Einstein might have had during the "miracle year" of 1905. While the dream narratives can be read for their entertainment value by people with little knowledge of physics, any physicist reading them will find numerous references to relativity theory, quantum theory, thermodynamics and cosmology. A few of the dreams also reflect aspects of physics student culture and quips that Einstein is believed to have made. These references can be used for teaching and to demonstrate the creative element in physics, which clearly bridges C. P. Snow's two cultures or the alleged left brain/right brain duality. It provides an opening for interaction with literature and history teachers as well. The presentation will discuss a number of the "dreams" and their allusions to physics, and will provide some suggestions for further reading.
  Footnotes: None
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