Lightning Course: From Newton to Einstein

Essential information

Event type: 
Date and time: 
Saturday 12 October | 10.30am - 2.30pm
Adults £32 | 10% off for 16-17 year olds
Royal Observatory, Planetarium & Astronomy Centre
Talks & courses
10% members discount

From Newton’s universal concepts of time and space to Einstein’s observer-specific view, Royal Observatory Astronomer Dr Ed Bloomer takes you through the history of our understanding of motion, gravity and the fabric of the Universe!

Note: The topics of our Lightning Courses change monthly. This is one of our past Lightning Courses and will run again in 2020. If you would like to express interest in this course or have a suggestion for another topic you feel would be interesting for our Lightning Courses programme, please email or the Royal Museums Greenwich switchboard at +44 (0) 208 858 4422.

With the right theory, could we understand the mechanics of everything? In this course, we're going to examine different ideas about how the universe works, how we test those ideas, and the counter-intuitive (but true!) consequences. We'll look at the way things changed between Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation and Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, and how the framework we use today:

  • Reveals the existence of gravitational waves and tells us how to detect them.
  • Shows how playing with torches on a train proves that time moves at different speeds.
  • Allows us to be a different age from our identical twin.
  • Suggests a way to make a teleporter out of a blackhole. 

Dr Edward Bloomer from the Royal Observatory Greenwich will guide you through these strange possibilities and more. If there's time, we'll even reveal a step-by-step guide for how to make a time machine and win at least one Nobel prize!