"Einstein and the Mind of God," Special Two-Part Series on Being Examining Albert Einstein’s Legacy To Be Broadcast on Public Radio in December

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"Einstein and the Mind of God," Special Two-Part Series on Being Examining Albert Einstein’s Legacy To Be Broadcast on Public Radio in December

(St. Paul, Minn.) December 2, 2005Being with Krista Tippett — public radio’s premiere national program about religion, meaning, and ethics — will air a special two-part series — "Einstein and the Mind of God," commemorating the centennial anniversary of some of the scientist’s most important discoveries. "Einstein and the Mind of God" will examine the ideas of one of the world’s greatest scientific geniuses, including his thoughts on religion, his relationship to Judaism and his belief that the beauty of the cosmos ultimately reveals truths that the scientific mind alone cannot penetrate. Being, acclaimed as a new paradigm for discussing religion in American life, is produced and distributed by American Public Media. The two hour-long programs, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will be broadcast the second and third weeks of December (check local listings) and nationally on XM satellite radio. Both programs will be accompanied by an extensive exclusive Web treatment at www.speakingoffaith.org.

One hundred years ago, a 26-year-old examiner in the Swiss Patent office in Bern turned mankind’s notions of the universe inside out. That young scientist, Albert Einstein, opened our eyes to the idea that time and space were not fixed and absolute, but elastic and mutable, and that they exist in relationship with unfolding life.

Einstein spent the rest of his years seeking to comprehend what he called the order "deeply hidden behind everything" and to describe it mathematically. He often spoke of this — half-seriously, half-whimsically — as his longing to understand "what God was thinking."

Today there is no thornier subject than the intersection of science and religion. Is there room for a dialogue between them? Krista Tippett’s interviews suggest that a new conversation between science and religion is not only possible but necessary. This series on Einstein captures that energy and turns it toward the most significant scientific figure of the 20th century.

"Many of us have heard of the famous Einstein quip that God does not play dice with the universe," says Being host Krista Tippett, “and there are many possible ways to interpret that. I’ve wanted to know what Einstein meant when he said it, as a physicist." Tippett adds that few figures in modern history inspire as much fascination or wield as much influence as Einstein. His spiritual perspective is especially intriguing and relatively little-discussed.

The Being series draws liberally on Einstein’s own words, as documented in speeches and writings. Part one, "Einstein’s God" takes Einstein’s science as a starting point for exploring his perspective on ideas such as mystery, eternity and the mind of God; part two, "Einstein’s Ethics" delves into Einstein’s Jewish identity, his passionate engagement around issues of war and race and modern extensions of his ethical and scientific perspectives.

Program interviews, on air and online, include:

— Theoretical physicist and futurist Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where Einstein spent the last two decades of his life. Dyson’s books include Disturbing the Universe; and The Sun, the Genome, and the Internet.

— Physicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist Paul Davies of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University. His research has ranged from the origin of the universe to the origin of life, and includes the properties of black holes, the nature of time and quantum field theory. Davies won the Templeton Prize on progress in science and religion in 1995. His books include The Mind of God and About Time: Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution.

— Science writer Tom Levenson of MIT. Levenson has authored several books on science, technology and history, including the widely acclaimed biography Einstein in Berlin. He produced the television documentary "Einstein Revealed" for NOVA.

— Physicist Sylvester James Gates, Jr. of the University of Maryland. Gates works in string theory — a modern extension and variant on the unfinished work of Einstein’s later life, towards a theory to unify all the forces of nature.

— Theoretical astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan of Yale. Her work involves cosmology, gravitational lensing, black holes and accretion physics.

Being‘s treatment of Einstein is part of a larger, ongoing exploration of the relationship between science and religion. Past programs — all of which can be heard online at www.speakingoffaith.org — include "Science and Hope," with South African cosmologist George Ellis; "Quarks and Creation," with physicist and theologian John Polkinghorne; and "Science and Being," with biologist Carl Feit, computer scientist Anne Foerst and geneticist Lyndon Eaves.

"Einstein’s God" will air on public radio stations nationwide from December 8-14. "Einstein’s Ethics" will air the following week, December 15-21. Visit www.speakingoffaith.org and check your local listings for a list of broadcast locations and times.