German gift launches HU Einstein Center

New center represents cooperative efforts to mark the 100th anniversary of "miracle year."

einstein 88 (photo credit: )
einstein 88
(photo credit: )
A one-million-euro gift from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has made it possible for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to inaugurate its Einstein Center on Thursday. Headed by former HU president Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund, the new center represents the culmination of cooperative efforts among the Hebrew University, the German ministry and German academic institutions to mark the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein's "miracle year" of 1905, in which the renowned German-born scientist published three of his revolutionary theories of theoretical physics. Gutfreund said that over the next five years the center will explore Einstein's legacy in a present-day perspective. In doing so, it will reflect the multi-faceted interests of Einstein's scientific and public life. Research groups comprised of senior scholars from HU, Germany and elsewhere are to deal with topics related to physics (focusing on implications of Einstein's work in contemporary physics), humanities (examining the cultural impact of scientific achievements) and the social sciences (dealing with ethical issues in public life). An academic committee, chaired by Itamar Pitowsky, the Eleanor Roosevelt Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science, is guiding the center's activities. Set to speak at the ceremony on the Givat Ram campus are Gutfruend, state secretary of the German ministry Prof. Frieder Meyer-Krahmer, and HU vice-president for research and development Prof. Hillel Bercovier.