As the International Year of Light comes to a close, are we finally seeing a path to achieving Power for All?

The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015) has showcased the incredible importance of bringing light to the hundreds of millions around the world living off grid. It has also seen unprecedented momentum in support of off-grid renewable energy in making that vision possible.

Micro-hydro plant, Peru. Credit: Practical Action.

Micro-hydro plant, Peru. Credit: Practical Action.

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IYL 2015 Events #48 | Week 30 November – 6 December

Find below the activities listed on the IYL 2015 Event Programme starting between 30 November – 6 December. Click on the links for more information on the different activities.

Please note that some last-minute additions to the event programme may not appear here. For an up-to-date overview of IYL 2015 events please visit the IYL 2015 Event Programme.

The singular tale of Einstein and General relativity

General relativity : everyone has heard about the theory imagined by Albert Einstein. This year, the theory celebrates its 100th birthday. Few people know that it has been successively praised, attacked, rejected, even forgotten and then finally «rediscovered» during the 1960s.

That story, unknown to the general public, is being told to us by Albert Einstein himself, and by some of the scientists who validated and revived the theory. Like Sir Roger Penrose, one of the most brilliant British mathematician who gave visual representations of a black hole, a strange cosmic object that challenged the theory. Or Jocelyn Bell who, as a student in Cambridge during the sixties, discovered a new range of stars – the pulsars – which matches the predictions of general relativity.

Einstein in the sky. Credit: Naji El Mir/LookatSciences.

Einstein in the sky. Credit: Naji El Mir/LookatSciences.

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Einstein in Popular Culture

Einstein is without a doubt the most popular scientist of all time. His name would probably be the first one that come into most people’s mind when asked about a scientist’s name. The great impact of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity on the understanding of the universe and his advocacy to raise awareness of the social issues of his time made him a cultural icon. No wonder why the prestigious Time magazine named him the most important person of the 20th century. The success of the General Relativity made him appear on the headlines of newspapers around the world and with that it began the countless journeys to give conferences and lectures worldwide to explain his theory. But his audience was not only comprised by scientists, everyone wanted a piece of Einstein’s time, from head of states to celebrities, Einstein’s life became what he called the circus of relativity. Einstein’s galvanizing effect on the popular imagination continued throughout his life, and after it, influencing modern culture from painting to cinema.

Credit: Arthur Sasse.

Credit: Arthur Sasse.

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100 Years of General Relativity

On 4 November 1915 Einstein wrote to his elder son Hans Albert Einstein, “In the last days I completed one of the finest papers of my life; when you are older I’ll tell you about it” (1). He referred to the first out of four papers Einstein wrote in November 1915 where he finally developed his General Theory of Relativity. Today, November 25th, marks the 100th anniversary of the presentation of the Einstein field equations on the Prussian Academy of Sciences, which is one of the anniversaries celebrated during the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015).

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