- Kai Kang in conversation with Salomon Kroonenberg and Sander Bais
Date: Wed 31 August Time: 02.00 pm Venue: BIBF
- Café Amsterdam IV: 'The importance of being curious'
Date: Sat 3 September Time: 7:30 pm Venue: le Café, UCCA
Life and work
Sander Bais (b.1945) is a Dutch physical scientist. In 1971 Bais got his bachelor degree (Physics) in TU Delft in the Netherlands. In 1973 he finished his master (Appl. Physics) and in 1977 he obtained a PhD in Theoretical Physics at the University of California in Santa Cruz and SLAC. He subsequently held research positions at the Universities of Pennsylvania, and Leuven, at CERN (Geneva) and the University of Utrecht. After an appointment in Leiden he became a full professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Amsterdam in 1985.
Sander Bais has always been a critical participant in general discussions on science, society and education. He delivered the 2004 Etty Hillesum Lecture on Science and Culture. He has written two books in which he conveys key principles of theoretical physics to a broad audience. The first is called The Equations: Icons of Knowledge and is about the fundamental equations of physics and their interrelationships (Harvard University Press, 2005), it has been translated in 8 languages. The second book is entitled Very special relativity: An illustrated guide and concerns an entirely geometric introduction to Einstein’s theory of special relativity (Harvard University Press, 2007).
Very special relativity: An illustrated guide
Bais’ previous book, The Equations, was widely read and roundly praised for its clear and commonsense explanation of the math in physics. Very Special Relativity brings the same accessible approach to Einstein s theory. Using a series of easy-to-follow diagrams and employing only elementary high school geometry, Bais conducts readers through the quirks and quandaries of such fundamental concepts as simultaneity, causality, and time dilation. The diagrams also illustrate the difference between the Newtonian view, in which time was universal, and the Einsteinian, in which the speed of light is universal.
Following Bais’s straightforward sequence of simple, commonsense arguments, readers can tinker with the theory and its great paradoxes and, finally, arrive at a truly deep understanding of Einstein s interpretation of space and time. An intellectual journey into the heart of the Special Theory, the book offers an intimate look at the terms and ideas that define our reality.
Translation in Chinese
- Bais, Sander. [Tujie aiyinsitan xiangduilun] Complex Chinese. Translated from English by Kuanyu FU. Taiwan: wunan, 2009. ISBN: 9789571156705.