World Year of Physics in Cuba

The small but enthusiastic community of Cuban Physicists have joined the international efforts 
to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Annuus Mirabilis. Here we present a pictorial outline 
of some of the main activities related to the World Year of Physics, organized by the 
Cuban Physical Society,  the Physics Faculty  (University of Havana), the Cuban Society for
the History of Science and Technology, and other  institutions.

Updated Nov. 20, 2005


A beam of light from "El Capitolio" orange line

Some people say that the Capitol of Havana (headquarters of the Cuban Academy of Sciences) is taller than the "original" one in Washington D.C. A certainly more relevant difference is that on April 18, 2005, our Capitol was suddenly illuminated and then turned off at 8:00 pm, to remember the 50th anniversary of the death of Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein, the man and genius who inspired so many and gave the world so much to think about. Where would we be without his ideas and theories? How many subjects and online degrees have been influenced by his remarkable brain? The commemoration --organized by the Cuban Physical Society-- had been announced by our most popular national radio station "Radio Reloj".


Physics from behind the curtainorange line

Very few will argue that the poster series "A century of Physics" created by the American Phsyical Society is a superb timeline of many breakthroughs along ten decades of Physics, starting at the end of the XIX century. One of us have designed an extra poster in the same style, which includes a number of other highlights. Amongst them, Ginzburg-Landau theory, the first manned trip to space by Yuri Gagarin, the invention of seminconducting heterostructures, and Cuban experiments in space. Somehow Jimi Hendrix and Picasso's "Guernica" also found a place in the poster.


Einstein and Social Responsibilityorange line

Einstein stamps The two mail stamps shown above were cancelled on September 29, 2005, at the "Baire" Hall, Havana's Capitol building. The activity took place during the Workshop "Albert Einstein and the Social Responsibility of Scientists", sponsored by the Cuban Movement for Peace and co-sponsored by several national associations, among them, the Society for the History of Science and Technology, and the Cuban Pugwash Group. The gathering was attended by over 150 distinguished educators, students, and representatives of the national scientific community. Most of the papers presented were dedicated to recall and value the example of various personalities, remarkable not only for their commitment to purely scientific work, but also for their social engagement, like Albert Einstein himself.

WYP for the handicapped orange line

One professor from the Physics Faculty, University of Havana, throws a ball as part of a Physics-based game at "Solidaridad con Panama" School for handicapped children. A few Physics professors visited the school on March 25, 2005, to talk with the children about Einstein and the World Year of Physics. In return, they asked questions, and explained their own activities in the school. (We are forced to recognize that our professors did't do better than the children in the game!).


Phone calls with a Physics flavour orange line

Cuban Telecommunications Enterprise, ETECSA, in collaboration with the Cuban Physical Society and the Cuban Society for the History of Science and Technology, launched 200,000 telephone cards commemorating the WYP and the 75th anniversary of the visit of Albert Einstein to Havana. Einstein's caricature authrographed during his 30-hours visit to Havana in 1930, is included in the card. The presentation took place on November 17, 2005, at the Physics Faculty, University of Havana.

WOW! It's floating! orange line

The faces of these secondary-school students from Old Havana talk by themselves: levitation of a magnet on a superconductor is always amazing!. This is one of the experiments organized by the Physics Faculty, University of Havana, to celebrate the WYP at the Alejandro de Humboldt's House, Old Havana, on March 10 and 18, 2005. Electric discharges, diffraction experiments, water-rocket launching, chaos simulations and other live demonstrations also took place. The first activity was the presentation of the poster series "A Century of Physics" (created by APS), supplemented with a further poster covering some extra highlights in XX Century's Physics.


Resnick on Einstein: conducting the orchestraorange line

Robert Resnick said that he was a good orchestra conductor, referring to his ability to understand and make people understand easily physical ideas created by others. And he conducted superbly indeed during his talk about the figure of Albert Einstein at the University of Havana on April 13, 2005. The "Manuel F. Gran" theatre at the Physics Faculty got crowded perhaps as never before. Several different editions of his celebrated textbooks were signed by Resnick after the talk.


Annuus Mirabilis for everyone orange line

In a series of papers published in the popular newspaper "Orbe", professors from the University of Havana described for the layman the seminal ideas Einstein published in 1905: the theory of light quanta, the theory of Brownian motion, and the Special Theory of Relativity. The articles in "Orbe" were published in the same months when the respective 1905 papers appeared in Annalen der Physik.


A dream that didn't come true orange line

One old dream did not come true: we were unable to raise enough funding to build a bronze statue of Albert Einstein and set it in the front of the Physics Faculty, University of Havana. It is a pity that Albert could not "return" in the 75th anniversary of his visit to Havana, on December 1930!. So, the nice maquettes made by a Cuban sculptor will keep resting on the Dean's desk until a potential donor gets interested in the project.


World Year of Physics for millions orange line

The National Cuban TV opened its doors to the World Year of Physics. Since 2004, a spot on the WYP is being passed systematically on the Educational Channel, and a second spot started early in 2005. On April 17 and April 24, a two-part documentary on Einstein's life was presented on "Ticket to the Unknown", one of the top-audience programs in the Cuban TV. One professor from the Physics Faculty, University of Havana, discussed the documentary and introduced the World Year of Physics to several million people.


Einstein in the 2005's Symposium of the Cuban Physical Society orange line

A number of talks about the contemporary implications of the scientific work of Albert Einstein took place in a workshop within the X Symposium of the Cuban Physical Society. Special talks about cosmology, Bose-Einstein condensates, the EPR paradox and other subjects were delivered by national and foreign speakers.




For further information contact: O. de Melo (, V. Fajer ( or E. Altshuler (

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