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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Understanding Einstein

Grade Level:


Students explore how scientists and policy-makers communicate. Submitted by Dominic Alvarez.





Students will be able to:

  • Identify scientific terminology
  • Describe Einstein’s evidence
  • Identify Einstein’s predictions
  • Describe Einstein’s recommendations
  • Locate sources of uranium ore



  • A background to the historical time, people and places should be established by reading or lecturing on articles that are listed in materials/sources. Each student should have a copy of Einstein’s letter to FDR. Students can read as a class, in small groups or individually.
  • Have students identify and compare and contrast the technical and nontechnical writing of Einstein. Then, have students take the part of Franklin D. Roosevelt and respond to the letter. In doing this they should address:
    1. Their general questions about the letter
    2. The significance of the letter coming from a celebrity scientist versus a scientist without such social status
  • After the exercise, students answer the following prompt:
    1. How do scientists communicate to politicians and the general public in a way that conveys urgency, sincerity, and a call for immediate action on the part of government and society in an easy to understand manner?