Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Math in a New Light

Just caught part of the NOVA film, Einstein's Big Idea, tonight, which apparently debuted last year. It expounds upon some of Einstein’s brilliant observations that revolutionized physics, in particular, e=mc2. This film captured a moment I never grasped by way of a text book. It was the producer, Gary Johnstone’s, take on Einstein’s creative observation and insight which translated into a sort of creative comprehension of Einstein’s theories on light, matter and energy in me. It is amazing how much more interesting something so flat-lined like math or physics can be when someone points to the story surrounding the facts. In the film, attention to the details of observation, supported by a peek into the cast of supporting characters in Einstein’s world, whom we would never meet in the same way in a classroom, makes the story behind the facts come to life. What a difference to be captivated by learning through art rather than to be taught a lesson. As a kid you have seemingly unending facts crammed into your head. Surprising the ones that stick, maybe even more so that any do. For me, the ones that did certainly weren’t about e=mc2. Yet in another moment, craftsmen and artists can spin all those facts into something personal and meaningful.

Gary Johnstone, the director and producer of Einstein’s Big Idea took some flack for playing out the drama of the story, but how else would you captivate those for whom math and science has always been painfully alien. I found it completely fascinating the way in which the math of creativity came into play in Einstein’s life. You know, I think I actually enjoyed math tonight! I must have as I found myself sitting forward, chin in hands, watching and listening for more. Bravo Gary Johnstone! This is a huge accomplishment. But then the film did mention electromagnetic fields too and we all know that there has been a recent interest on my part in that subject.

My imagination and interest were especially sparked during the scene when Einstein began to grasp that light is the constant in the universe. This thought and those surrounding it were fascinating to me. I will have to watch this again as the story moved on while I was contemplating all of this.

It appeared from the portrayal in this film that Einstein found himself in an intense observational niche that seemed to build for a time, as often happens with creative people. Once the creative’s eyes are opened to what God has placed within the range of their senses, their insight goes into overdrive and it’s nearly impossible for them to stop “seeing”.

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday life"
-This quote has been attributed to a number of people including Albert Einstein. I'll have to look into it further.

But whomever said it, perhaps if we all spent a little more time refining everyday life and being a bit more observant, who knows what any of us might come up with.

"After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well."
—Albert Einstein

Cool stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for coming by. I hope you'll say hello and let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you! Unfortunately spammers have been at an all time high, so I will no longer be able to accept anonymous comments.