What Did Albert Einstein Discover ?
Albert Einstein, often called the father of modern physics, is perhaps the best known scientist in the world. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year 1921 for the law of photoelectric effect, which went on to be the base of quantum physics later on. While Einstein was a theoretical physicist, he has been credited with discovering the Theory of Relativity.
For most laypeople, the Theory of Relativity may not be understandable, and come across as an utter waste of time. However, this theory changed the face of physics to a certain extent. So, if you still want to know what did Albert Einstein discover, read on. This will give you an understanding about Theory of Relativity in layman’s terms.
Imagine a scenario where you are waiting in a long queue to buy a ticket. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the ticket counter. The wait seemed so long. Now you are inside the movie theater, which air-conditioned. You relax and sit down on your assigned seat. You begin watching the movie. Before you realize, half of the movie finishes. While you were watching the movie time seemed to fly, but when you were standing in queue for your ticket, time seemed to have come to a standstill. That is exactly what Einstein tried to explain with the help of Theory of Relativity. Basically, the theory states that the same time period can end up appearing different, and therefore, it is considered a relative concept and should not be considered as an absolute. If you are puzzled, do not worry because when Einstein published the theory nearly all the physicists in the world could not understand it!
The theory that Einstein discovered was actually a two-part theory. The first part was related to general relativity, while the second part was related to special relativity. It was actually the second part that Einstein explained first and this event took place in the year 1905. However, Einstein did not coin the term special relativity. The honor for that goes to Galileo. But Galileo’s theory had many problems and it took Albert Einstein to rectify them and present them to the world.
Basically, the Theory of Relativity is all about space and time. For instance, motion is considered to be relative, as it can be measured in relation to something else. When a person says that a particular car is fast, he or she is basing this opinion on the fact that compared to other cars it is fast. However, motion also does not have a fixed standard wherein it can be said for certain that a speed below or above a particular mark can be said to be low or high. Therefore, when someone is in motion, he or she cannot decipher their speed. So, the speed can only be measured when it is compared to another moving body that is similar.
The second law details with the speed of light. We know that light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. Einstein theorized that when a body moves at the speed of light, any person standing or moving would view the body to be in an absolute state.
Based on these two postulates, Einstein came up with the famous energy mass relationship using the formula E=mc2. And that is what Einstein discovered and is most popular for. Yes, the theory of relativity can be a conundrum to laypeople, but today scientists credit it for letting them discover and invent many things. There are other theories that Einstein published, but it is this theory dealing with relativity that will always be associated with this great and famous physicist.
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Wikipedia: Albert Einstein