A Centenary to Celebrate in 2005

There is a centenary that will be celebrated across the world in 2005. It’s the centenary of a world-changing year that saw a combination of imagination and science that is unlikely to be equalled by any single individual again. It’s the World Centenary of the ‘miraculous year’ of a 26 year-old patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland – 2005 is Einstein YearUnlike certain self-obsessed party-political fund-raising, there are already events organised in Ireland and around the world to celebrate 1905 as a year that changed our fundamental understanding of the physical world, changed how that knowledge is harnessed, and changed utterly how we see ourselves in the universe.

Three papers, in particular, published by Albert Einstein in 1905 are recognised as the work that constitute his annus mirabilisSpecial Relativity, Photoelectric-effect and Brownian motion

The impact of the revelations of that 26 year-old clerk are still echoing through virtually all scientific fields – and beyond – whether considering the sub-atomic level, the galactic level, the beginning and (possible) end of the universe we see around us, and what we mean by ‘time’.

Bern, naturally, has celebrations planned and in recognition of the importance of the centenary, 2005 has also been designated International Year of Physics with events already scheduled across the globe.

As part of the International Year of Physics, the Irish Government has also designated 2005 as Hamilton Year, celebrating the life and work of William Rowan Hamilton – 2005 is the bicentennial of the birth of, perhaps, Ireland’s most influential scientist and mathematician.