To support a two-hour public television broadcast of a multimedia live stage play about Albert Einstein’s journey to the general theory of relativity

  • Amount $750,000
  • City New York, NY
  • Investigator David Horn
  • Year 2017
  • Program Public Understanding
  • Sub-program Television

This grant funds a project by WNET, working with physicist Brian Greene, the World Science Foundation, 59 Productions and CounterPunch Studios, to adapt the live stage piece “Light Falls: Space, Time, and an Obsession of Einstein” for broadcast on public television. The piece, which debuted at Lincoln Center during the 2016 World Science Festival and is narrated by Greene, traces Einstein’s journey to the discovery of the general theory of relativity. The piece walks the audience through the stages in Einstein’s journey—from his boyhood fascination with a compass to his desperate efforts to understand gravity to his fear that mathematician David Hilbert would beat him to the general theory. In addition to providing historical information about Einstein himself, the production will explain, explore, and make compelling key scientific ideas related to the general theory such as Lorentz contraction, time dilation, the equivalence principle, Riemannian geometry, and curved spacetime. The producers, working with the award-winning CounterPunch Studios, will also explore deploying a pioneering holographic rig that can generate a digital, life-like, three-dimensional rendering of Einstein so that Greene can interact and converse with a realistic looking historical figure. The completed production will be broadcast on the one hundredth anniversary of the 1919 solar eclipse measurements that confirmed Einstein’s theory and made him the most famous scientist in the world.

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