In This Issue...
Source: Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
Exactly 100 years ago, Albert Einstein grappled with the implications of his revolutionary special theory of relativity and came to a startling conclusion: mass and energy are one, related by the formula E = mc2. In "Einstein's Big Idea," NOVA dramatizes the remarkable story behind this equation.
E = mc2 was just one of several extraordinary breakthroughs that Einstein made in 1905, including the completion of his special theory of relativity, his identification of proof that atoms exist, and his explanation of the nature of light, which would win him the Nobel Prize in Physics. To honor the centenary of these achievements, 2005 has been declared the World Year of Physics by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.
Among Einstein's ideas, E = mc2 is by far the most famous. Yet how many people know what it really means? In a thought-provoking and engrossing docudrama, NOVA illuminates this deceptively simple formula by unraveling the story of how it came to be.
Based on David Bodanis's bestselling book E = mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation, the program explores the lives of the men and women who helped develop the concepts behind each term in the equation: E for energy; m for mass; c for the speed of light; and 2 for "squared," the multiplication of one number by itself. Like a multi-plot novel building to a climactic scene, "Einstein's Big Idea" traces the stories of a fascinating range of characters, including the following:
= Einstein (played by Aidan McArdle: Ella Enchanted, Not Only But Always): In 1905 he was a 26-year-old family man stuck in a dead-end job at a Swiss patent office. In his spare time, he single-mindedly pursued an unconventional approach to physics.
= Mileva Maric (Shirley Henderson: Bridget Jones, Harry Potter): Einstein's first wife, a struggling scientist as well as a young mother, paid a heavy price for her husband's obsession.
= Michael Faraday (Stephen Robertson: Inside I'm Dancing): Starting out as a poor bookbinder, he rose to become one of the giants of 19th-century science. He studied how different forces could be changed into each other, laying the groundwork for the modern scientific concept of energy.
= Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (Julian Rhind-Tutt: Madness of King George): This French aristocrat and amateur scientist was carted off to the guillotine during the French Revolution--but not before he proved that total mass is never lost, no matter what sort of physical transformation a substance undergoes.
= James Clerk Maxwell (Richard Henshall): In the late 19th century, this young Scot showed that light is an electromagnetic wave with a very strange property: no matter how fast you travel, light always travels away from you at the same speed of 670 million miles per hour.
= Emilie du Châtelet (Helene De Fougeroles: Fanfan la Tulipe): A mathematical genius and lover to the French philosopher Voltaire, she clarified a long-standing debate, showing that the velocity of an object must be squared when calculating its total energy.
= Lise Meitner (Emily Woof: The Woodlanders): Working after Einstein proposed his famous equation, she was the first to show that a uranium atom can be split, converting a tiny amount of mass into a prodigious amount of energy, according to the formula E= mc2. This discovery eventually led to the development of the atomic bomb.
The program also features comments from David Bodanis as well as from Michio Kaku of the City University of New York, James Gates of the University of Maryland, Patricia Fara of Cambridge University, David Kaiser of MIT, Judith Zinsser of Miami University, Ruth Lewin Sime of Sacramento City College, and Lisa Randall, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Harvard University.
Genius by genius, idea by idea, "Einstein's Big Idea" shows how Einstein's remarkable predecessors provided the intellectual tools for his extraordinary breakthrough--and will help you understand this famous equation as never before.
-- In many (but not all) parts of the country, the first broadcast of Einstein's Big Idea (a 2-hour program) will be tonight at 8:00 p.m. Check local listings for initial/repeat broadcast times in your area: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/schedule-local.html
-- To download the program overview for teachers, visit http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/teachers/programs/3213_einstein.html
-- Permission is granted to videotape Einstein's Big Idea and to use the video for up to a year.
-- Numerous articles and videos on related topics are available at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein/ A transcript of the program should be available on that Web site in 1-3 weeks.
Workshops and courses for teachers on a wide variety of educational topics are available online and free of charge from Annenberg Media. These professional development programs are designed to strengthen the professional credentials of educators at all levels. Workshops and courses are appropriate for preservice and inservice teachers, and are targeted at specific curricular areas and grade levels. These programs offer training in content areas and educational theory and practice. Supplemental video programs called "teaching practices libraries" give a "fly-on-the-wall" view of real teachers in real classrooms. Additional workshops are designed for administrators, reformers, and policymakers.
These free workshops and courses consist of video, print, and Web components that can be used in group sessions or individually. Video programs are broadcast on the Annenberg Channel and are available as Video on Demand (VoD) on the Web site. Print guides are downloadable in PDF format. Videocassettes and print guides are also available for purchase. Certificates of Participation are available to those working in groups. These certificates may be used for inservice or recertification credit. Graduate credit is available for courses and most workshops.
Visit http://www.learner.org/resources/browse.html for a list of programs available on a variety of topics and in various subject matter areas (primarily science and mathematics). Program topics, descriptions, related resources, and links to online videos are available for all of the mathematics programs below:
Against All Odds: Inside Statistics
This video instructional series for college and high school classrooms and adult learners leads to a greater understanding of statistics by exploring authentic examples--from environmental studies to weight-loss programs.
Algebra: In Simplest Terms
This video instructional series for college and high school classrooms and adult learners guides students step-by-step through algebra concepts, while highlighting common trouble spots.
Assessment in Math and Science: What's the Point?
This video workshop for K-12 teachers examines current assessment issues and explores strategies for making classroom assessment practices more effective.
This video documentary shows how parents and communities can promote more creative math and science education. (Also available in Spanish)
Creating a Climate for Change…Math Leads the Way
These materials show K-5 teachers and administrators how to present their own workshops on math education reform.
Insights Into Algebra 1: Teaching for Learning
This video workshop presents strategies to improve the teaching of topics found in most Algebra 1 programs.
Learning Math: Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
Learn the basic concepts of data analysis and statistics with this video- and Web-based course for K-8 math teachers.
Learning Math: Geometry
Learn the basics of geometry in this video- and Web-based course for K-8 teachers.
Learning Math: Measurement
This video- and Web-based course examines some of the major ideas in measurement and how to apply those concepts in K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 classrooms.
Learning Math: Number and Operations
This video- and Web-based course for K-8 teachers examines the three main categories in the Number and Operations strand of Principles and Standards of School Mathematics (NCTM).
Learning Math: Patterns, Functions, and Algebra
Gain a better understanding of the mathematics concepts you teach with this video- and Web-based course for K-8 teachers.
Math for All
This video series for families teaches math concepts for children in grades K-3 and shows activities that parents and children can do at home. (Also in Spanish)
Math for All--Plus
This video series for families teaches math concepts for children in grades 4-6 and shows activities that parents and children can do at home. (Also in Spanish)
Mathematics and Science for All
This video series for K-12 educators shows how five reform projects in the state of Montana dovetail to meet the needs of teachers and students, including a large American Indian population, special needs students, and rural educators.
Mathematics Assessment: A Video Library, K-12
This video library for K-12 educators helps teachers and administrators understand the many types of mathematics assessment and the information they provide about student knowledge and performance.
Mathematics: What's the Big Idea?
This video workshop offers motivation and tools for K-8 teachers who want to explore ways of changing how they teach math.
The Missing Link: Essential Concepts for Middle School Math Teachers
This video workshop for middle school math teachers presents four concepts that have been identified by TIMSS (the Third International Mathematics and Science Study) as crucial to your students' success.
Teaching Math, Grades 3-5
This course, available only online, provides an overview and exploration of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics process standards for grades 3-5.
Teaching Math, Grades 6-8
This course, available only online, provides an overview and exploration of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics process standards for grades 6-8.
Teaching Math, Grades 9-12
This course, available only online, provides an overview and exploration of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics process standards for grades 9-12.
Teaching Math, Grades K-2
This course, available only online, provides an overview and exploration of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics process standards for grades K-2.
Teaching Math: A Video Library, 5-8
This video library for grade 5-8 math teachers shows real classrooms where the NCTM math standards guide the lessons.
Teaching Math: A Video Library, 9-12
This video library for high school teachers of algebra, calculus, geometry, trigonometry, and integrated mathematics shows real classrooms where the NCTM math standards guide the lessons.
Teaching Math: A Video Library, K-4
This video library for K-4 math teachers shows real classrooms where the NCTM math standards guide the lessons.
About Annenberg Media:
The Annenberg/CPB Project was created in 1981 through a gift from Ambassador Walter Annenberg to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to improve education for all Americans. In 1990, The Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Project was created to focus on K-12 math and science improvement. In 2004, Annenberg/CPB became part of The Annenberg Foundation and, shortly after, changed its name to Annenberg Media.
The mission of Annenberg Media is to advance excellent teaching in all disciplines throughout American K-12 schools. Annenberg Media pursues this mission by funding and broadly distributing multimedia resources for teachers to help them improve their own teaching practice and understanding of their subject. Annenberg Media makes use of telecommunications technologies--broadband video streaming via the Internet and satellite television broadcast--as well as hard copy media to disseminate these multimedia resources, ensuring that they reach as many teachers as possible.
Ensuring equity and excellence lies at the core of systemic reform efforts, especially in science and mathematics, the two academic areas that historically have not been widely open to females, ethnic minorities, or students from less affluent communities and families. Although the concept of equity penetrates the entire education system, it has profound implications in teaching and learning mathematics and science. A new article by Arlene Hambrick draws attention to the concept of education equity and its potential to increase excellence in mathematics and science for a diverse population of students. Raising expectations for student learning is first on the list of key practical recommendations to help schools ensure equitable instruction to meet a wide range of student needs. This article, available at the Web site above, also provides a focused look at equity issues in mathematics and science as they apply to subgroups identified in the No Child Left Behind Act.
COMET is sponsored in part by a grant from the California Mathematics Project.
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