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Want to know how the Universe works?

UT to host a new physics lecture series

Are space and time intertwined? Is light a particle or a wave? What are the building blocks of the universe? UT’s Department of Physics and Astronomy is hosting a new lecture series for the public known as “Physics for Everyone” for this fall semester. Please come and listen to some of our faculty present their lectures on the fundamental building blocks of the universe, the weird and mysterious quantum world, and Einstein’s revolutionary ideas.

The first of this five-lecture series will kick off Saturday, September 16, with a lecture delivered by UT/ORNL joint faculty Anthony Mezzacappa. Mezzacappa is the Newton W. and Wilma C. Thomas Chair of Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics, the Director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, a world leader in computational astrophysics, and a pioneer in the field of supernova science. Mezzacappa will talk on one of the pillars of modern physics: Einstein’s General Relativity. Below you can find the title and description of his talk:

It’s All Relative: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and its Implications for Space, Time, and Gravity

Abstract: In 1905, in what has been called the Annus Mirabilis, or Miracle Year, Einstein published three papers that shook the foundations of the centuries-old “classical” physics of Galileo and Newton and ushered in the era of “modern” physics, which includes relativity and quantum physics. In particular, his theory of relativity was published over an eleven-year period, beginning with the publication of his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905 and culminating in the publication of his masterpiece, the General Theory of Relativity, in 1916. The General Theory of Relativity is among the greatest achievements of the human mind in humankind’s history. Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity dismantled our classical notions of space and time, reassembling them into a new concept: space-time. The General Theory of Relativity in turn gifted us a physical interpretation of space-time, telling us something no less profound than what space-time is, along with a revolutionary theory of gravity that turned Newton’s theory on its ear. My hope is to guide attendees through these exciting developments, giving each attendee a glimpse at Einstein’s genius and the profound implications his thought has had, and continues to have, on our view of the most fundamental aspects of our experience, and our Universe.

Mezzacappa’s lecture, as well as the other talks, will be held from 10 to 11:00 a.m. with questions and discussion from 11:00 – 11:20 a.m. in Room 415 of the Nielsen Physics Building. Limited free parking will be available in the 11th Street Garage.

Here is the full schedule of the Physics for Everyone presentations:

  • September 16 – Anthony Mezzacappa, professor, “It’s All Relative: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and its Implications for Space, Time, and Gravity”
  • October 7 – Cristian Batista, professor, “Wave particle duality”
  • October 21 - Nadia Fomin, assistant professor, “Don't Stand Too Close to Me: Short-Range Nucleon-Nucleon Repulsion”
  • October 28 – Sowjanya Gollapinni, assistant professor, “Things You Don’t See Matter the Most — a Dive into the World of Sub-atomic Particles”
  • December 2 – Hanno Weitering, professor, “Condensed Matter Physics: From Stone Age Pottery to Topological Quantum Computing"

For more information about the lectures or to sign up, visit the Physics for Everyone website.

Contact: Kranti Gunthoti (

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