NOVA Online Examines the One-Hundred Year History of the World-Famous Equation E=MC2 on PBS.ORG

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Site features audio clips from ten of the worldÂ?s top physicists describing the equation, and an exclusive video clip from the television program "EinsteinÂ?s Big Idea" airs on NOVA Tuesday, October 11, 2005 from 8-10PM ET on PBS, check local listings. Press materials can be found at or

To mark the one-hundredth anniversary of Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2, NOVA has launched a Web site ( that features exclusive comments from ten of the worlds top physicists. This once-in-a-lifetime gathering of top scientists such as S. James Gates, Jr., Brian Greene, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Nobel Laureate Sheldon Glashow simplify what the equation means to our world today and the effect it has had on their careers. NOVA online also details how Einstein grappled with the implications of his revolutionary theory of relativity and came to a startling conclusion: that mass and energy are one, related by the formula E=mc2.

In this, the World Year of Physics, NOVA pays its own tribute through this new Web site and by dramatizing the story behind the equation on "Einstein’s Big Idea," a two-hour special airing Tuesday, October 11, 2005, at 8PM ET on PBS (check local listings). Among Einstein’s ideas, E=mc2 is by far the most famous. Yet how many people know what it really means? Based on the best-selling David Bodanis book “E=mc2,” this NOVA docudrama (featuring Aidan McArdle as Einstein and Shirley Henderson as his first wife, Mileva Maric) and Web site illuminate this deceptively simple formula by unraveling the story of how it came to be.

Visit NOVA’s Web site ( to see an exclusive preview of the October 11 program and read an excerpt from the re-released Bodanis book. Additional features include:

Ancestors of E=mc2
Explore each element of Einstein’s equation and discover the scientists who paved the way to Einstein’s breakthrough in this interactive adaptation of "E=mc2" by David Bodanis.

The Power of Tiny Things
If you could convert the mass of a paperclip entirely to energy, how big a punch would it pack? In this quiz, discover the mind-boggling answer, and explore other examples—both fanciful and real—of what scientists call mass-energy equivalence.

The Legacy of E=mc2
This article investigates the myriad inventions, techniques, and discoveries—from nuclear power plants to carbon-dating to understanding how stars work—that owe their existence to E=mc2.

Viewers will also find an excerpt from “Einstein’s Cosmos” by Michio Kaku and many other articles and interactives. They can also access a number of lesson plans through the award-winning NOVA Teacher’s Guide and a special library resource kit.

About WGBH and PBS

Now in its thirty-second year of broadcasting, NOVA is produced for PBS by the WGBH Boston Science Unit. The director of the WGBH Boston Science Unit and senior executive producer of NOVA is Paula S. Apsell. Major corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Sprint and Google. Additional funding is provided by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers. Major funding for Einstein’s Big Idea is provided by the National Science Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the United States Department of Energy and American Playhouse. "Einstein’s Big Idea" will be available on DVD and VHS and can be ordered at, or call WGBH Boston Video at 800-949-8670.

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation’s 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet, averaging more than 30 million unique visits and 380 million page views per month in 2004. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ESI 0407104. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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