PBSNOVA: EINSTEIN'S BIG IDEAFri Sep 15, 2006 16:08
NOVA: EINSTEIN'S BIG IDEA
Tuesday, September 19, 8-10 p.m. ET/PT on PBS (Repeat)
Check your local listings as dates and times may vary.
One hundred years ago last year, 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. 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.
Here's what you'll find online:
The Legacy of E = mc2
Einstein's big idea has been enormously influential, in ways
that reach far beyond the purely scientific.
The Producer's Story
Filmmaker Gary Johnstone describes how creativity fuels both art
The Equation Today
Three young physicists contemplate how a 100-year-old equation
figures into their careers.
Einstein the Nobody
The patent clerk's career prospects looked bleak just before his
"miracle year" of 1905.
Genius Among Geniuses
To rank with Newton or Einstein, you have to reinvent the way we
see the world.
Relativity and the Cosmos
Examine what many consider Einstein's greatest achievement --
E = mc2 Explained
Hear how 10 top physicists describe the equation in a few
minutes or less.
The Power of Tiny Things
How much energy does a paper clip pack? Test your intuition
in this quiz.
Ancestors of E = mc2
Meet the visionary scientists whose experiments paved the way
Seven thought-provoking statements from the world's most
The Light Stuff
Find out why the speed of light isn't always 186,000 miles
Explore time dilation in this interactive version of Einstein's
Einstein Time Line
Follow the arc of Einstein's life from his birth in 1879 till
his death in 1955.
Also, a video preview of the program, Links & Books, the
Teacher's Guide, and more.
Thank you for visiting NOVA on the Web. We welcome your questions,
comments, and feedback. You can send a message directly to
email@example.com, or use our feedback form at
The Gyrocar before the bodywork was fitted; photograph taken shortly before the first test run. The pendulum weights are hidden by the chassis members. The Gyrocar was powered by a modified Wolseley C5 engine of 16 - 20 hp, with a bore of 90mm and a stroke of 121mm. It was mounted ahead of the radiator, driving the rear wheel through a conventional clutch and gear box. A transmission brake was fitted after the gearbox- there appear to have been no brakes on the wheels themselves. The small size of the engine in the photograph (in an era when specific outputs were low) indicates that the Gyrocar was distinctly underpowered. The weight of the vehicle was 2.75 tons, concentrated on two wheels- not promising for the heavy mud of the Eastern Front. It has also been said that it suffered from a very large turning circle- again not a good thing in a proposed military vehicle.
(See Attached Ford's older 1923 Sample of a gyrocar)
The gyroscope was of 40 inch diameter and 4.5 inch thick at the rim, and spun at between 2000 and 3000 rpm, powered by a 110V 1.25 hp electric motor. This was beneath the gyro on the same spindle for direct drive. The motor was powered from an engine-driven dynamo mounted beside the clutch. The gyro rotor weighed 12 cwt and apparently absorbed 10% of the engine power. A centrifugal governor rang an alarm bell if gyro rpm fell too low, and support sprag wheels on either side were automatically lowered to prevent the car falling over. A rather fragile-looking system of toothed quadrants actuated by two 95 lb pendulums maintained stabilization; more details below.
Patents were taken out for the Gyrocar:
British Patent No 12,021 (1909)
British Patent No 12,940 (1914)
New provisional specifications in 1923
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