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 hopes to address some of these questions in Physics for Everyone, a fall public lecture series that debuts at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“We invite the public to come to campus to hear some of our faculty talk about the fundamental building blocks of the universe, weird and mysterious quantum world, and Einstein’s revolutionary ideas,” said Kranti Gunthoti, program director.

Albert Einstein mural

UT/ORNL joint faculty member Anthony Mezzacappa’s lecture, “It’s All Relative: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and its Implications for Space, Time, and Gravity,” will be in Room 415 of the Nielsen Physics Building.

In 1905, 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,” said Mezzacappa, who 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 supernova science.

Published over 11 years, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity “is among the greatest achievements of the human mind in humankind’s history.

“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 said.

Each presentation is at 11 a.m. in Room 415 of the Nielsen Physics Building. Limited free parking will be available in the 11th Street Garage. Here’s the lineup:

  • October 7—Christian 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.