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January 23, 2012

Space is Flexible. Time Warps.

By Leslie Stainton

Lots of talk at Saturday Morning Physics on who Einstein is/was and what he represents.

Composer Philip Glass: “As I worked on Einstein on the Beach, I began to see Einstein as a poet.” (Interestingly, Glass sees himself as “kind of a failed scientist.” He admits he wanted to be three things as a kid: musician, scientist, dancer. Of the three, he became just one.) Glass also notes that Einstein was the first scientist to become a celebrity.

Physicist Sean Carroll, of the California Institute of Technology: Einstein’s theories changed the definition of time. They taught us that “everybody’s watch reads personally.”

Theoretical physicist Michael S. Turner, of the University of Chicago: “Einstein changed the way we think about something that was very basic—space and time.” Turner teaches a course on Einstein and relativity. The gist of the course, Turner says, can be summed up in two sentences: “Space is flexible.” “Time warps.”

On those last two sentences, here’s UM’s Martin Walsh, a theater professor at the Residential College, on the time-warping experience of watching Einstein on the Beach at the Power Center on Friday night:


Leslie Stainton is the author of "Staging Ground: An American Theater and Its Ghosts" (Penn State, 2014) and "Lorca: A Dream of Life (Farrar Straus Giroux 1999)." She'll read from "Staging Ground" at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 7 pm.