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Einsteins Year / Museums / Grammy Winners

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HOST:

Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

Some Grammy-winning music ...

A question about American museums ...

And a report about a scientific anniversary.

Einstein's Year

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One hundred years ago, AlbertEinstein published several papers that caused a revolution inscientific thought. Now physicists and others are celebratingEinstein's "miracle year." Shep O'Neal has more.

SHEP O'NEAL: The International Union of Pure and Applied Physicshas declared two thousand five the World Year of Physics. The UnitedNations is honoring the International Year of Physics. And inEinstein's birthplace, Germany, officials have declared this theEinstein Anniversary Year.

In nineteen-oh-five, Albert Einstein began a scientificdiscussion that continues today. It involves the nature of theuniverse. Einstein presented ideas that went against hundreds ofyears of scientific thought.

In his Special Theory of Relativity, he argued that time andspace are conditional properties. They depend on the position of theobserver. Observers moving at different speeds, for example,experience space and time differently. Einstein said only the speedof light and the laws of nature are unconditional.

p>Albert Einstein was just twenty-six years old when he publishedthis theory in nineteen-oh-five. Another of his papers from thatyear helped prove the existence of atoms. Still another argued thatlight acts as if made of particles, not waves as scientists thought.Einstein later won a Nobel Prize for that paper.

His ideas about light led to the development of quantum theory.This describes how energy and matter act at the level of atoms andparts of atoms. Quantum theory guides most physics research today.

Events to celebrate the anniversary include the usual, likescientific conferences and museum shows, but also the unusual. InTokyo, dancers and actors will perform a play about Einstein in Noh,traditional Japanese theater.

This year is also the fiftieth anniversary of Einstein's death.He died on April eighteenth, nineteen fifty-five, in Princeton, NewJersey, his home for many years.

On the night of this April eighteenth, people in Princeton aresupposed to turn off their lights. From the darkness, a light is toshine into the sky. This will signal the start of an event called"Physics Enlightens the World." The goal is to create an unbrokensignal around the world.

Flashes of light will travel westward across the United States.Then a signal will go by cable under the Pacific Ocean to East Asiaand Oceania. The light will continue to China, then divide into twopaths. The northern path will include Russia, Ukraine, Belarus,Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The southern path will gothrough India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary.

The two paths will join again in Austria and go throughSwitzerland to France. From there, a signal will be sent by cableunder the Atlantic to Princeton. The plan is for the signal toarrive exactly twenty-four hours after the relay began.

Organizers say anyone in any country can take part. The aim is tohave stations close enough so that each one can see the light of theone before it. People are being urged to think of ways to send asignal with light while obeying local laws and avoiding lightpollution.

Internet users can learn more about this and other events duringthe World Year of Physics at w-y-p2005 dot o-r-g (wyp2005.org).

And to learn more about Albert Einstein, listen Wednesday to theVOA Special English program, EXPLORATIONS.

Museums

DOUG JOHNSON: Our VOA listener question this week comes fromBangladesh. M.H. Mamun Rashid asks about the number of museums inthe United States and which one is the largest.

Well, as far as the largest, we could not get an answer, not evenfrom the American Association of Museums. In fact, that organizationpoints out that there is not even a simple answer to the question,"what is a museum?" What museums all have in common, it says, isthat they aid the public "by collecting, preserving and interpretingthe things of this world." This definition covers many differentkinds of places -- including zoos.

The American Association of Museums says it knows of only twoattempts to count all the museums in the country. One was innineteen ninety-eight, the other in two thousand three. Both studiescounted between fifteen thousand and sixteen thousand museums.

Another study in two thousand three looked for the most popularkinds of museums in the United States. It found that zoos get themost visitors by far. Next come science and technology museums,followed by arboretums and botanical gardens. At the bottom of thelist are history museums.

Grammy Winners

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Did you see the Grammy Awards lastSunday? In case you missed the winners in Los Angeles, here is FaithLapidus with some of the results.

FAITH LAPIDUS: The most Grammys this year, eight, went to "GeniusLoves Company," the final album by Ray Charles and friends. He diedlast June at the age of seventy-three. Honors for "Genius LovesCompany" include album of the year and record of the year.

The record of the year is this song performed by Ray Charles andNorah Jones, called "Here We Go Again."

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Among other nominees, Green Day won the Grammy for best rockalbum for "American Idiot."

And members of the National Academy of Recording Arts andSciences gave John Mayer song-of-the-year honors for "Daughters."

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DOUG JOHNSON: I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our programthis week.

Our show was written by Nancy Steinbach and Caty Weaver. And forthe last time, Paul Thompson was the producer. He will be missed.Our engineer was Efeem Drucker.

Send your questions about American life to mosaic@voanews.com.Please include your full name and mailing address. Or write toAmerican Mosaic, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C.,two-zero-two-three-seven, U.S.A.

Please join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radiomagazine in Special English.


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