E=MC2

Often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history, German-born theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize laureate, Albert Einstein was born this day March 14th, 1879 in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire

He is best known for developing the theory of general relativity, E = mc2, which was revolutionary in physics. For this achievement  he received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”. The latter being pivotal in establishing quantum theory within physics.   Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe as a whole.

He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, and did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He settled in the U.S., becoming a citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he helped alert President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Germany might be developing an atomic weapon, and recommended that the U.S. begin similar research; this eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein was in support of defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced using the new discovery of nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, together with Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.   During his life Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works. His great intelligence and originality have made the word “Einstein” synonymous with genius. In 1922, Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”. This refers to his 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect, “On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light”, which was well supported by the experimental evidence of that time. The presentation speech began by mentioning “his theory of relativity which had been the subject of lively debate in philosophical circles and also has astrophysical implications.

Awards & Legacy

Einstein also won many awards for his work, including the he Max Planck medal of the German Physical Society In 1929, for extraordinary achievements in theoretical physics. In 1936, Einstein was also awarded the Franklin Institute’s Franklin Medal for his extensive work on relativity and the photo-electric effect. The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics also named 2005 the “World Year of Physics” in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the publication of the annus mirabilis papers.   The Albert Einstein Science Park is located on the hill Telegrafenberg in Potsdam, Germany. The best known building in the park is the Einstein Tower which has a bronze bust of Einstein at the entrance. The Tower is an astrophysical observatory that was built to perform checks of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.

The Albert Einstein Memorial in central Washington, D.C. is a monumental bronze statue depicting Einstein seated with manuscript papers in hand. The statue, commissioned in 1979, is located in a grove of trees at the southwest corner of the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences on Constitution Avenue.   In 1999 Time magazine named Albert Einstein the Person of the Century, ahead of Mahatma Gandhi and Franklin Roosevelt, among others. In the words of a biographer, “to the scientifically literate and the public at large, Einstein is synonymous with genius”. Also in 1999, an opinion poll of 100 leading physicists ranked Einstein the “greatest physicist ever”. A Gallup poll recorded him as the fourth most admired person of the 20th century in the U.S. In 1990, his name was added to the Walhalla temple for “laudable and distinguished Germans”, which is located east of Regensburg, in Bavaria, Germany. The United States Postal Service also honoured Einstein with a Prominent Americans series (1965–1978) 8¢ postage stamp and In 2008, Einstein was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody candles out!”

Cockney actor Michael Caine was born on this day 14th March in 1933. He is one of only two actors nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s, the other being Jack Nicholson. In 2000, Caine was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his contribution to cinema.

Caine was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in St Olave’s Hospital, Rotherhithe, Southwark in South East London, during the Second World War he was evacuated to North Runcton near King’s Lynn in Norfolk. After the war, when his father was demobilised, the family was rehoused by the council in Marshall Gardens at the Elephant and Castle in a pre-fabricated house. In 1944, he passed his eleven plus exam, winning a scholarship to Hackney Downs Grocers’ School. After a year there he moved to Wilson’s Grammar School in Camberwell (now Wilson’s School in Wallington, South London), which he left at sixteen after gaining a School Certificate in six subjects.

Caine’s acting career began at the age of 20 in Horsham, Sussex when he responded to an advertisement in The Stage for an assistant stage manager who would also perform small walk-on parts for the Horsham-based Westminster Repertory Company who were performed at the Carfax Electric Theatre. In July 1953 he was cast as the drunkard Hindley in the Company’s production of Wuthering Heights. He moved to the Lowestoft Repertory Company in Suffolk for a year when he was 22. It was here that he met his first wife. He has described the first nine years of his career as “really really brutal.” When his career took him to London after his provincial apprenticeship, his agent informed him that there was already a Michael Scott treading the boards in London and that he had to come up with a new name immediately. Speaking to his agent from a telephone box in Leicester Square, London, he looked around for inspiration, noted that The Caine Mutiny was being shown at the Odeon Cinema, and decided to change his name to “Michael Caine”. (Humphrey Bogart was his “screen idol” and he would later play a part originally intended for Bogart in John Huston’s film “The Man Who Would Be King”.

A big break came for Caine when he was cast as Meff in James Saunders’ Cockney comedy Next Time I’ll Sing To You, when this play was presented at the New Arts Theatre in London on 23 January 1963. When this play moved to the Criterion in Piccadilly with Michael Codron directing, he was visited backstage by Stanley Baker, his co-star in A Hill In Korea, who told him about the part of a Cockney corporal in his upcoming movie Zulu, a film Baker was producing and starring in. Baker told Caine to visit the director, Cy Endfield,

who informed him that he already had given the part to James Booth, a fellow Cockney who was Caine’s friend, because he looked more Cockney than Caine did. After dozens of minor TV roles, Caine finally entered the public eye as the upper class British Army officer Gonville Bromhead in Zulu.

Subsequently, Caine’s agent got him cast in the BBC production Hamlet at Elsinore (1964) as Horatio in support of Christopher Plummer’s Hamlet. Horatio was the only classical role Caine, who had never received dramatic training, would ever play.

After working on The Italian Job with Noël Coward, and a solid role as RAF fighter pilot Squadron Leader Canfield in the all-star cast of Battle of Britain, both made in 1969, Caine played the lead in Get Carter (1971), a British gangster film. Caine was busy with successes including Sleuth (1972) opposite Laurence Olivier, and The Man Who Would Be King (1975) co-starring Sean Connery and directed by John Huston (which he has stated will be the film he wishes to be remembered for after his death). In 1976 he appeared in the screen adaptation by Tom Mankiewicz of the Jack Higgins novel The Eagle Has Landed as Oberst (Colonel) Kurt Steiner, the commander of a Luftwaffe paratroop brigade disguised as Polish paratroopers, whose mission was to kidnap or kill the then-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, alongside co-stars Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Jenny Agutter, and Donald Pleasence. Subsequently in 1978, he starred in The Silver Bears, an adaptation of Paul Erdman’s 1974 novel of the same name. Caine also was part of an all-star cast in the film “A Bridge Too Far” (1977).

By the end of the decade, he had moved to the United States, but his choice of roles was often criticised — he admitted to and has since made many self-deprecating comments about taking parts, strictly for the money, in numerous films he knew to be bad, despite working with Hollywood’s highly regarded directors such as Irwin Allen, Richard Fleischer, Michael Ritchie and Oliver Stone. Caine was averaging two films a year, but these included such failures as the BAFTA Award-nominated The Magus (1968), the Academy Award-nominated The Swarm (1978), Ashanti (1979) (which he claimed were the worst three films of all the other worst films he ever made), Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979), The Island (1980), The Hand (1981) and a reunion with his Sleuth co-star Laurence Olivier in The Jigsaw Man. Caine also took better roles, including a BAFTA-winning turn in Educating Rita (1983), and an Oscar-winning one in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and a Golden Globe-nominated one in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988).

The 1990s were a lean time for Caine, as he found good parts harder to come by, however His performance in 1998’s Little Voice was seen as something of a return to form, and won him a Golden Globe Award. Better parts followed, including The Cider House Rules (1999), for which he won his second Oscar.

In the 2000s, Caine appeared in Miss Congeniality, Last Orders, The Quiet American, for which he was Oscar-nominated, and others that helped rehabilitate his reputation. Several of Caine’s classic films have been remade, including The Italian Job, Get Carter, Alfie and Sleuth. In the 2007 remake of Sleuth, Caine took over the role Laurence Olivier played in the 1972 version and Jude Law played Caine’s original role. Caine also starred in Austin Powers in Goldmember as Austin’s father and in 2003 he co-starred with Robert Duvall in Secondhand Lions. He also appeared in the films Children of Men, The Prestige and Flawless,  as well as starring in the British drama Is Anybody There?, which explores the final days of life.

In 2005, he was cast as Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth in Batman Begins, Directed by Christopher Nolan, while in 2008 he reprised his role as Alfred in Nolan’s critically acclaimed Batman sequel, The Dark Knight and is also in the forthcoming film The Dark Night Rises, alongside Christian Bale, Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway.

Caine has been Oscar-nominated six times, winning his first Academy Award for the 1986 film Hannah and Her Sisters, and his second in 1999 for The Cider House Rules, in both cases as a supporting actor. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1992 Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in the 2000 New Year Honours he was knighted as Sir Maurice Micklewhite CBE. On 5 January 2011, he was made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France’s culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand. In 2008, he was awarded the prize for Outstanding Contribution to Showbusiness at the Variety Club Awards.

Adam Clayton (U2)

Best known AS the Bass Player with Irish Rock Band U2 Adam Clayton was Born this day 13th March in 1960. Clayton has resided in County Dublin since the time his family moved to Malahide when he was five years old in 1965. Clayton is well known for his bass playing on songs such as “New Year’s Day”, “Bullet the Blue Sky”, “With or Without You“, “Mysterious Ways“, “Get on Your Boots“, and “Magnificent“. His work on No Line on the Horizon has been cited as his best bass playing. He has worked on several solo projects throughout his career, such as his work with fellow band member Larry Mullen Jr. on the theme of 1996’s Mission: Impossible. Clayton, as a part of U2, has also won 22 Grammy awards.

Born in Chinnor, Oxfordshire, England, his family moved from Oxfordshire to Malahide, County Dublin When Clayton was five years old, where Clayton attended boarding school first at Castle Park School in Dalkey, then at St. Columba’s in Rathfarnham. He later changed school to Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, where he met fellow bandmates Paul “Bono” Hewson and Larry Mullen Jr., and was reunited with his boyhood friend Dave “The Edge” Evans. Mullen had posted an advertisement on the school bulletin board for musicians to form a band with him; Clayton showed up at the first practice, which also included Dik Evans, Dave Evans’s older brother, Ivan McCormick, and Peter Martin, who were two of Mullen’s friends. McCormick and Martin left the band soon after its conception. While the band was a five-piece (consisting of Bono, The Edge, Mullen, Evans, and Clayton), it was known as Feedback. The name was subsequently changed to The Hype, but changed to “U2” soon after Dik Evans left the band.

As a bass player, Adam Clayton’s most recognizable basslines include “New Year’s Day”, which evolved out of an attempt to play Visage’s song “Fade to Grey”, and “With or Without You”. His style includes Motown and reggae influences, and cites artists such as Paul Simonon of The Clash as influences on his musical style. When Clayton first joined the fledgling U2, he did not have formal training in the bass. In the band’s early years, he generally played simple parts in 4/4 time. He has also sung on several occasion, including on the song “Endless Deep”, the B-side to the single “Two Hearts Beat As One” from 1983. Clayton also sung backup vocals on “I Will Follow” during live performances in 1983 and 1984. He also spoke the last verse of “Your Blue Room”. Clayton can be heard speaking on “Tomorrow (’96 Version)” (a rerecording of “Tomorrow” that he arranged) a song from U2’s 1981 album October. He plays the guitar on a few occasions, most notably the song “40”, where he and guitarist The Edge switch instruments. He also plays the keyboard introduction to “City of Blinding Lights”.

Clayton and U2 have also won numerous awards in their career, including 22 Grammy awards, including those for Best Rock Duo or Group seven times, Album of the Year twice, Record of the Year twice, Song of the Year twice, and Best Rock Album twice.

Conjunction of Jupiter & Venus

Although the planets are far apart in space, Jupiter & Venus will appear to be separated by only a few degrees. Amateur astronomers will be excited by the prospect of two of the brightest planets in the solar system appearing so closely together on Sunday 11th and Monday 12th March 2012.   Although conjunctions are not that rare, the interest in this one is a result of how spectacular it is. Both planets are very bright in the night sky. If you know where to look, you can even see Venus in the day.

The two being so close together will be beautiful. Last night they looked like two beacons.   It is also interesting for people because it just happens to be something which you can see for yourself. In the northern hemisphere we should look for them in the south west this evening. The pair will appear to move to the west over the course of the night. While the pair will drift apart after a couple of days, Jupiter will be visible for at least another two weeks. Last Monday, Mars made its closest pass of earth in more than two years, and in June Venus will appear to cross in front of the sun from some positions on Earth.

Graham Coxon

Best Known for  being the laed Guitarist with 90’s Britpop Band Blur, The English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and painter Graham Coxon, was born on this day 12th March in 1969

He came to prominence as the lead guitarist, backing vocalist and occasional lead vocalist of Britpop band Blur, His artistic and musical contribution is featured on all seven of Blur’s studio albums, from 1991’s Leisure to 2003’s Think Tank. Although credited as a songwriter on most Blur tracks, his most significant lyrical contributions appeared on the hit singles “Tender” and “Coffee & TV”; a number of tracks in the band’s catalogue were also penned mainly by Coxon. The cover of 1999’s 13 was designed by Coxon.In 2002, he left Blur following a bitter dispute with the other members, notably Damon Albarn. As a result, he played guitar and was credited as a songwriter on only the final track for the following year’s Think Tank.

coxon is also a critically acclaimed solo artist, and has recorded seven solo albums. His first, released on his own Transcopic label was The Sky is Too High in 1998, a ramshackle mixture of English folk music and 1960s-style garage rock, influenced by Billy Childish. This was followed by the more extreme The Golden D in 2000 and the thoughtful Dylan-Drakesque Crow Sit on Blood Tree (2001). After going solo full time, he released The Kiss of Morning in 2002. The album proved to be his most accessible to date and was promoted with the single “Escape Song” which proved to be an interesting hybrid of Syd Barrett’s “Octopus” and progressive rock trail-blazers The Nice. In 2004,

Coxon released his fifth solo album Happiness in Magazines, produced by ex-Blur and The Smiths producer Stephen Street. This proved to be his most successful album to date, and he received the NME Award for ‘Best Solo Artist’ in 2005.   In March 2006 he released his sixth solo album, called Love Travels at Illegal Speeds, again produced by Stephen Street. It marks Coxon’s first album away from his now-defunct indie label ‘Transcopic’. The LP was preceded by the singles “Standing On My Own Again” on 27 February and “You & I”. Coxon embarked on a tour of the UK, starting at Newcastle University. He also got involved in a single supporting the England national football team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The song was a re-working of the Sham 69 hit “Hurry Up Harry”, and was released as “Sham 69 and The Special Assembly” (as well as Coxon and Sham 69, Virgin Radio DJ Christian O’Connell, who had run acompetition on his show to find a band to record a song in support of the team, was involved in the recording of the song). “Hurry Up England” entered the UK Singles Chart at #10.

In October 2006, Coxon released a double live album Burnt to Bitz: At the Astoria immediately after his sold-out London Astoria show. The album features 27 songs, with at least one song from each of his albums. In July 2007 Coxon released a single with Paul Weller, called “This Old Town”. The single peaked at #39 in the UK Singles Chart.   Coxon’s seventh 15-track studio album titled The Spinning Top, produced again by Stephen Street, was released on 11 May 2009. Coxon says the LP, which is primarily acoustic, follows a narrative – the story of a man from birth to death. “The album is mainly an acoustic journey although there is, of course, some explosive electric guitar action,” he explained. “There are some guests too! Robyn Hitchcock supplies some counter-attack guitar, Jas Singh plays dilruba and jori with his friends Gurjit Sembhi on taus and Jaskase Singh on esraj. Danny Thompson plays the legendary Victoria, Graham Fox gives plenty of swing on the drums and sizzle cymbals and Louis Vause tinkles the ivories.” Pre-release response has been very positive, with Monday Field of Frank Booth Review dubbing the album “a staggering artistic achievement, and Coxon’s best solo release to date.  His next solo album entitled A+E comes out on 2nd April 2012.

In September 2007, Graham Coxon rejoined the band and in late 2008 Damon Albarn announced that the band would reunite 2009 for a number of shows. They are also doing a number of shows during 2012 including a “Best of British” concert at this years Olympic Closing ceremony.   Coxon is capable of playing several other instruments, besides guitar, and is famous for recording his albums single-handedly, without much help from session musicians. An innovative lead guitarist, other notable British guitarists such as Jonny Greenwood and Noel Gallagher have lauded Coxon’s musicality and talent, with the latter calling him “the most gifted guitarist of his generation.” He was voted the 15th greatest guitarist of the last 30 years in a national 2010 BBC poll.

Run to the Hills

Best known for his “galloping” playing style and often considered among the best and most influential heavy metal bass players, the occasional keyboard player, backing vocalist and primary songwriter of the splendidly noisy British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, Steve Harris was born on this day 12th March in 1956. He is the only member of Iron Maiden to have remained in the band since their inception and, along with guitarist Dave Murray, to have appeared on all of their albums.

Originally He aspired to be a professional footballer, but gained an interest in rock music in his early teens, following which he participated in two small pub bands, Gypsy’s Kiss and Smiler, before forming Iron Maiden on Christmas Day 1975. Before Iron Maiden signed their contract with EMI in 1979, Harris worked as an architectural draughtsman in the East End of London until he was made redundant, at which point he undertook a job as a street sweeper. In addition to his role as the band’s bass player and backing vocalist, Harris has undertaken many other roles for the group, such as producing and co-producing their albums, directing and editing their live videos and performing studio keyboards.

Initially Harris wanted to play drums, but did not have enough space for a drum kit in his house and so decided the learn to play Bass instead, Just 10 months after he bought his first bass, Harris joined a band, initially known as Influence and later Gypsy’s Kiss, but After a short number of gigs the band split up and Harris auditioned for a band called Smiler in February 1974. In this outfit, Harris began writing his own songs and worked with future Iron Maiden members Dennis Wilcock and Doug Sampson, but left the band after they refused to play his material, claiming it was too complicated.

Upon leaving Smiler, Harris went on to create Iron Maiden on Christmas Day 1975, with the band’s name being inspired by the film The Man in the Iron Mask. Since their inception, Harris has been the band’s principal composer and lyricist. His song writing typically showcases his trademark galloping bass patterns and progressive rock-influenced songs often including several time changes. Recently, Harris’ songs have become more progressive, and guitarist Adrian Smith has commented that Harris now prefers contributing “lyrics and melodies and arranging” to other member’s songs over writing alone. Harris frequently writes lyrics about mythology, history or topics inspired from books and films, for which Iron Maiden has become notable in sharp contrast to most other rock bands where the themes are typically sex, drugs and rebellion.

Harris also began contributing keyboards to Iron Maiden’s studio albums from Virtual XI onwards, and played an increasing role in mixing the band’s albums and produced most of their 1990’s output. He also directs and edits many of the band’s live videos, including Maiden England in 1989, Harris also edited the Rock in Rio DVD as he was unsatisfied with the results produced by the band’s hired production crew. Harris was influenced by the progressive rock bands of the 70’s, as well as early hard rock bands. His influences include Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, early Genesis, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin,Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Wishbone Ash, and Yes. Speaking about the early Iron Maiden sound, Steve Harris described the band as utilising twin-guitar harmonies inspired by Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy, complex time and mood changes from Genesis and Jethro Tull, and the dark melodic elements of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin.

Happpy Birthday Liza Minelli

The American actress and singe Liza Minnelli, was born on this day 12 March in 1946. She is the daughter of singer and actress Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli.

Already established as a nightclub singer and musical theatre actress, she first attracted critical acclaim for her dramatic performances in the movies The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), and Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970); Minnelli then rose to international stardom for her appearance as Sally Bowles in the 1972 film version of the Broadway musical Cabaret, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She later made a great star turn in Arthur (1981), co-starring with Dudley Moore (in the title role) and Sir John Gielgud, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Arthur’s snobbish but loveable butler.

While film projects such as Lucky Lady, A Matter of Time and New York, New York were less favorably received than her stage roles, Minnelli became one of the most versatile, highly regarded and best-selling entertainers in television, beginning with Liza with a Z in 1972, and on stage in the Broadway productions of Flora the Red Menace, The Act and The Rink. Minnelli also toured internationally and did shows such as Liza Minnelli: At Carnegie Hall, Frank, Liza & Sammy: The Ultimate Event, and Liza Live from Radio City Music Hall.

She starred in Liza’s Back in 2002. She had guest appearances in the sitcom Arrested Development and had a small role in the movie The OH in Ohio, while continuing to tour internationally. In 2008/09, she performed the Broadway show Liza’s at The Palace…! which earned a Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event.   Minnelli has won a total of four Tony Awards awards, including a Special Tony Award. She has also won an Oscar, an Emmy Award, two Golden Globes and a Grammy Legend Award for her contributions and influence in the recording field, along with many other honors and awards. She is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award.