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Subject: History of Science Seminar
From: "Aaserud, Finn" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Aaserud, Finn
Date:Mon, 16 Sep 2002 15:26:39 +0200
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Dear all:

I am happy to invite you to the Niels Bohr Archive's first two seminars
after summer. The first is organized together with the Society for the
History of Exact Sciences, which also invites you to a little snack
after Michel Janssens lecture for the price of 20 kroner. Please note
the date and time. The second lecture is organized by the Niels Bohr
Archive alone. We are happy to have Paul Dirac's biographer give this
talk a hundred years after Dirac was born.

We look forward to seeing you.

All the best,
Finn Aaserud

PS.: Some relevant websites are:

Niels Bohr Archive:
http://www.nba.nbi.dk

Society for History of Exact Sciences:
http://www.math.ku.dk/~ramskov/SEVH/

Michel Janssen:
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~janss011/

Helge Kragh:
http://www.ivh.au.dk/personale/helge_kragh/home.dk.html
___________________________________________________________________
The Niels Bohr Archive's          Tuesday 1 October 2002 at 19:45
History of Science Seminar        Auditorium 10, H.C. ěrsted Institute
in collaboration with             Universitetsparken 5, Copenhagen
The Society for History
        of Exact Sciences

                        Professor Michel Janssen
         Center for Program in History of Science and Technology,
                        University of Minnesota

           Why Einstein Introduced the Cosmological Constant

With the recent discovery that the universe is expanding at an
accelerating rate, the so-called cosmological constant - the
anti-gravity introduced by Einstein in 1917 to prevent his static
massive universe from collapsing - is making a remarkable come-back. In
my talk, I want to show that Einstein's introduction of this constant,
which he later allegedly called the biggest blunder of his life, had
little to do with cosmology. It was part of the last of a series of
failed attempts by Einstein to eliminate the notion of absolute
acceleration from physics. As it happened, it took the Dutch astronomer
Willem de Sitter only a few days to show that this latest attempt once
again failed. After putting up a big fight, Einstein finally conceded
the point about a year later, although he never publicly acknowledged
that he was wrong and De Sitter was right. The year-long debate over
this issue is a veritable comedy of errors involving not just Einstein
and De Sitter, but also the great mathematicians Hermann Weyl and Felix
Klein. The great irony of the situation has always been that if Einstein
had not added the cosmological term to the field equations of general
relativity, his philosophical predilections would have led him to
predict the expansion of the universe, more than a decade before Edwin
Hubble produced convincing evidence for this idea. Given the latest
developments, however, Einstein may have the last laugh.

_____________________________________________________________________
The Niels Bohr Archive's             Tuesday 8 October 2002 at 14:15
History of Science Seminar           Auditorium M, Niels Bohr Institute
                                       Blegdamsvej 21, Copenhagen


                                Helge Kragh
                   Professor of the History of Science
                      University of Aarhus, Denmark

               Paul Dirac and the Concept of Antimatter

A considerable part of modern theoretical physics rests on the
pioneering contributions of Paul Dirac, Nobel laureate of 1933 and born
one hundred years ago. Among these contributions, his introduction of
antielectrons (and more generally antimatter) in 1930-31 is perhaps the
most important. Although speculations about a kind of antimatter can be
found back in the Victorian era, it was only about 1931 that the
astounding notion was justified scientifically, as a consequence of the
relativistic wave equation that Dirac had found in 1928. The lecture
will focus on the early events from 1928 to 1933 (when Dirac, in his
Nobel lecture, speculated about entire antiworlds), but also outline
parts of the later history of antimatter, including its role in
cosmological theory.

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