One of the 20th century's greatest thinkers — some say the greatest — was Albert Einstein. He has been quoted as saying, "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music."
Einstein would probably have made a good Freemason. Not only a renowned physicist and an accomplished violinist, he was a noted writer who penned not only about science, but about matters close to his heart — politics, health, even love.
Archives of more than 43,000 documents by or about him are maintained at the Einstein Archives Online. And in Jerusalem, you can visit, by appointment, the Albert Einstein Archives at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
On relativity, he wrote: "It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamilar conception for the average mind....
"Furthermore, the equation E is equal m c-square, in which energy is put equal to mass, multiplied with the square of the velocity of light, showed that very small amounts of mass may be converted into a very large amount of energy and vice versa. The mass and energy were in fact equivalent, according to the formula mentioned before. This was demonstrated by Cockcroft and Walton in 1932, experimentally."
Einstein's theories predict two effects in space (or of space) that are currently being tested by a NASA satellite, the Gravity Probe B, launched into space from the California desert three years ago, on April 20, 2004.
One of the predictions, according to physicists who met in Jacksonville, Florida recently, has proven to be true.
From a recent BBC article titled "Einstein was right, probe shows":
A common analogy is that of placing a heavy bowling ball on to a rubber sheet.Hopefully all Masons will remember their Fellowcraft instructions, and keep their brains in tune by examining their Universe through study of the Seven Liberal Arts. Read a book. Debate a point. Work a crossword or sudoku or even a jigsaw puzzle. Strum a guitar or pound a piano. Stare at the Moon with binoculars. Plot something on a graph. Do some algebra or calculus or just add up a row of figures. Take a class — or teach a class — at your local college. Explore your world. Explore the Winding Staircase.
The bowling ball will sit in a dip, distorting the rubber sheet around itself in much the way a massive object such as the Earth distorts space and time around itself.
In the analogy, the geodetic effect is similar to the shape of the dip created when the ball is placed on to the rubber sheet.
If the bowling ball is then rotated, it will start to drag the rubber sheet around with it. In a similar way, the Earth drags local space and time around with it — ever so slightly — as it rotates.
Over the course of a year, these effects would cause the angle of spin of the gyroscopes to shift by minute amounts.
The mission's principal investigator, Professor Francis Everitt, from Stanford University, discussed preliminary results at the American Physical Society meeting in Jacksonville at the weekend.
The data from Gravity Probe B's gyroscopes clearly confirm Einstein's geodetic effect to a precision of better than 1%.
Image: A Fellowcraft tracing board.
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