One-Man Show Brings Einstein to Life

Posted: April 27, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jennifer Mitchell

In celebration of Albert Einstein’s “miracle year” of 1905, professor Robert Ehrlich and Mason’s Department of Physics and Astronomy have arranged for two free performances of Einstein: A Stage Portrait on Saturday, May 7, at the Fairfax Campus.

The show, written by Willard Simms and performed by actor Tom Schuch, is a portrayal of the celebrated physicist based on his thoughts and perspectives. In the show, Einstein invites the audience to his home to listen while he reflects on his life and work. As a child who didn’t speak until the age of three, Einstein was considered by many of his teachers to be a slow learner who frequently disregarded authority. When he formulated his Special Theory of Relativity at the age of 26, his work became known even to those outside of the scientific community, making him a celebrity.

In March 1905, Einstein published a paper that changed the way physicists understood the structure of light. It later earned him the Nobel Prize. In May and June of that same year, he published two more papers on the theory of Brownian motion and relativity, which prompted scientists to call 1905 Einstein’s “miracle year.” Marking the centennial year of Einstein’s discoveries, 2005 has been named the World Year of Physics by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

Ehrlich saw Einstein: A Stage Portrait while at a physics conference in New Mexico, and he has been working to bring the production to Mason ever since. Having devoted much of his research to studying particle physics, Ehrlich also enjoys finding new and innovative ways to help students explore the world of physics.

“This show really focuses on the complexities of Einstein’s life,” says Ehrlich. “It’s more about his views on life, rather than science.” He is offering extra credit to his students who see the play and write a short paper about it. As an extra incentive to attend, the production is free, made possible with financial contributions from several deans, departments, and the Office of the Provost.

Two performances will take place at 2 and 8 p.m. in Lecture Hall I, with a question-and-answer period featuring Schuch and Ehrlich following each. Both performances are open to faculty, staff, students, and the general public. For more information, e-mail Erhlich or see the web site.

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