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Dr. Jeffrey Bennett

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What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas and Why They Matter
(Columbia University Press)


The Relativity Tour sponsors include:





Dr. Jeffrey Bennett

100th Anniversary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity: Live Stream Lecture from “The Relativity Tour” on March 6

Live Webcast Link


Elena Meredith | | 512-481-7096 | Twitter: @elenameredith

This year (2015) marks an important milestone in the history of physics: the one hundredth anniversary of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (published November 25, 1915), which redefined human understanding of space, time, and gravity. To help introduce the public to Einstein’s theories and why they are so important, astrophysicist and educator Dr. Jeffrey Bennett has embarked on a yearlong “relativity tour.”

Following two earlier sold-out shows, the Fiske Planetarium in Boulder will host a third show on March 6, which will be streamed live over the web for journalists around the world at The live webcast will begin at 7pm Mountain Standard Time (GMT–7); the show will then be archived at the same site.

During the live stream presentation, based on his book What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas and Why They Matter from Columbia University Press, Dr. Bennett will explain the basic ideas of relativity and why should matter to all of us, regardless of our level of understanding of physics.

Dr. Bennett says, “Most people assume relativity is beyond their comprehension, but upon learning about it, they are excited to find out that it’s actually a simple idea that they can understand. Relativity is important to the way we view ourselves as human beings in a vast universe—it opens your mind in new and unexpected ways. As we reach the 100th anniversary, I believe it’s time to take relativity out of the realm of obscure science and bring it into the realm of general public consciousness.”

Following the March 6 event, the tour will continue with Dr. Bennett speaking soon at Vanderbilt University, the University of Texas – Arlington, the University of Washington, Microsoft Research, Western Kentucky University, the Silicon Valley Lecture Series, the University of Arizona, and more. Tour sponsors include Columbia University Press, Fiske Planetarium, and Story Time From Space.

A limited number of tour dates are still available for summer and fall. Institutions interested in hosting Dr. Bennett for the Relativity Tour may contact him directly at For media inquiries, contact Elena Meredith at PR by the Book: or 512-481-7096.

Topics included in the Relativity Tour Lecture

  • How Einstein’s theory of relativity underlies nearly all of modern science and technology.
  • How and why Einstein developed the theory in two parts: the special theory in 1905 and the general theory in 1915.
  • What is “relative” about relativity – and why in some ways, the theory would have been better named as a theory of absolutes.
  • How simple “thought experiments” allow anyone to understand the basic ideas of relativity, and how these ideas have been tested and validated by real experiments.The mind-bending ideas of time dilation and curvature of spacetime.
  • The most famous equation in history: E = mc² .
  • Why black holes don’t suck, and what relativity really does tell us about what would really happen as you approach a black hole.
  • How you can fit the strange-sounding ideas of relativity into your ideas about “common sense.”
  • Why relativity is astounding in both its implications and its basic simplicity, and why it really matters to all of us, scientists and nonscientists alike.
  • More information at

About Dr. Jeffrey Bennett (

Astronomer and educator Jeffrey Bennett is the winner of the 2013 American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award. He holds a BA in biophysics from the University of California, San Diego, and an MS and Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the lead author of best-selling textbooks in astronomy, astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics and has written numerous award-winning books for the general public and children. His five children’s books are currently onboard the International Space Station being read by astronauts as a part of Story Time From Space (

Editorial reviews for What is Relativity?

“From black holes and gravity waves, to wormholes and warp drive, Bennett’s fun book shows readers what relativity means, and what it reveals about our universe.” —Publishers Weekly

“An impressively accessible distillation of epoch-making science.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Bennett . . . has written an entertaining, brilliant introduction to Einstein’s ideas . . . that is impressively understandable.” —CHOICE

“Understanding the universe requires understanding relativity, and this slim volume does an admirable job without resorting to the gimmicks or magic show common in the Einstein-for-laymen genre . . . A sober, comprehensible account of what every intelligent layman should know about space and time.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The theory of relativity is one of those areas of science that seems daunting to non-physicists. Although the experts agree that the theory is accurate and eloquent, most literature explaining it is too complex for the lay reader to grasp fully . . . Bennett does a masterly job of teaching a difficult topic without oversimplifying it.” —Library Journal 

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