Celebrating 100 years of WA link to Einstein’s bombshell theory

  • WA celebrates the centenary of the famous Wallal eclipse expedition
  • September 1922 expedition provided proof of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity
  • Members of the public and school groups are encouraged to celebrate the State’s role in this great achievement
  • Western Australia is celebrating the centenary of the Wallal expedition, which provided the world-first empirical proof of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity during a total solar eclipse in September 1922.

    The University of Western Australia is holding a Wallal expedition centenary celebration at Winthrop Hall, sponsored by the McGowan Government.

    It is one of many events and activities that will be held over the next fortnight to celebrate the significant scientific achievement.

    In 1922, a group of Australian and international scientists travelled to Wallal Downs Station, 300 kilometres south of Broome, for the total solar eclipse on 21 September.

    Using telescopes, the scientists measured a tiny deflection of starlight predicted by Einstein due to space being curved around the sun, providing the world’s first empirical proof of General Relativity.

    Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity explains gravity through the curvature of space-time and underpins modern technology such as satellites and GPS.

    The anniversary is an opportunity to showcase WA’s historic and modern scientific capability, the strong foundation the State has for current priorities such as space industries and how STEM skills are so essential to human progress.

    A total solar eclipse will take place on 20 April 2023 over WA, with the Ningaloo region named one of the best places on earth to experience the phenomenon.

    To learn more about the 2023 Total Solar Eclipse, please visit: https://ningalooeclipse.com/

    To get involved with the centenary celebrations, please visit: https://www.uwa.edu.au/study/Events/UWA-Wallal-Expedition-Centenary

    As stated by Science Minister Roger Cook:

    “A hundred years ago, one of the foundations of modern science, Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, was proven right here in WA.

    “On 21 September 1922, a group of more than thirty people from six countries converged upon the shores of Eighty Mile Beach in Broome with 35 tonnes of equipment, a feat all on its own.

    “The group included astronomers, photographers, naval staff and Aboriginal stockmen, who over three days confirmed Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

    “This story of collaboration and determination taps into the very spirit of what it means to be Western Australian, and cements our place in the history of modern science.”

    /Public Release. View in full here.