|Born||14th of March, 1879|
|Died||18th of April 1955|
|Famous Quote||“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”|
|Known For||Creating theory of relativity, unlocking the atom, gravity waves|
|Area Of Influence||Europe and United States|
|Further Reading||Isaac Newton: His 3 Biggest Impacts On Society|
Of all the scientists in the world, few compare to the influence of this one man, Albert Einstein. Living through two world wars this scientist created the theory of relativity, a theory that unlocked the stars and forever changed how the world perceives the Universe.
Albert Einstein spent his life trying to figure out one question. How are time and energy created in our universe? Are they spontaneous or do they exist in tandem? What are their characteristics and can we predict them?
Einstein’s special and general theory of relativity outlined a world that was completely alien to physicists at the time. Because of this Einstein changed the world in 3 very important ways.
What Is Relativity?
Einstein created two theories of relativity. First, was his special theory of relativity. Second, Einstein created his magnum opus general relativity.
Special relativity links all physical parts of the universe together except gravity. Einstein couldn’t figure out how to quantify gravity. Conventional Newtonian gravity just didn’t apply properly.
The reason was that Newton’s theory of gravity had the apple fall to the earth because it was attracted because of the Earth’s larger mass. It was an effect not the cause.
Einstein would eventually figure it out. He inverted Newton’s conception of gravity. Instead of the apple falling to the earth because of the earth’s greater mass instead the earth is bending space around itself which is causing the apple to fall.
Einstein had correctly figured out what gravity was. It was a displacement of space-time around an object that manipulated the very fabric of reality.
Thus Einstein was finally able to pin together his general theory of relativity. That everything in our universe is relative to each other.
This general theory of relativity would reverberate throughout the academic community. Out of this would come three massive changes that would change the world forever.
1.) Relativity Unlocked Atomic Energy
One of the major ways in which relativity changed our world forever was the creation of atomic energy.
Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2 for the first time opened up how atomic energy would work. Essentially each particle in the universe carries energy present in itself.
For Einstein, if we could figure out a way to lower the inherent mass in an atom we could tap into its nearly limitless supply of energy.
This was massive. For the first time the human race could create a nearly limitless supply of energy to power a civilization.
This power came with great risk. With the massive power of the atom the human race entered into a new diplomatic period of mutual assured destruction which brought about a lasting peace.
Einstein gave to the world a way of generating nearly infinite energy by dividing the atom. We are still learning more about his theories and how to best use this new energy source to benefit humanity.
2.) Relativity Linked Space And Time Together
Another way Einstein changed the world forever was the creation of a new theoretical physical element in our universe, spacetime.
When we travel somewhere we typically think in two metrics. How long it will take to get from point A to point B and how long the distance is.
For Einstein, these were the same. If we lowered the distance traveled then we would lower the amount of time needed to travel. This might seem obvious but in math both time and distance were separate.
Because of spacetime, Einstein gave us the ability to measure the weight and dimensions of the stars, planets, and other cosmic phenomena.
Out of this discovery, several theories emerged. Some of which involve different universes and ways to transverse our own. This is the very theoretical side of physics but to this day we are discovering things that only serve to reaffirm Einstein’s theory of spacetime.
It remains to be seen just how far the impact of spacetime will go. One of the major advances in this theory was Hawking radiation.
Stephen Hawking would strive to figure out what exactly a black hole was and if they were truly immortal. What Hawking found out was that Einstein was right, a black hole was just a being of pure spacetime.
In turn, Hawking found out that slowly spacetime would radiate energy away from the black hole, which would eventually dissipate into nothing. Black holes were not immortal but had a beginning and an end.
Einstein’s theory of spacetime continues to help us explore theoretical physics. Every year new ideas emerge that both challenge and solidify Einstein as one of the brightest minds to ever exist.
3.) Relativity Allows Us to Explore The Stars
Because of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, we have been able to explore the stars.
We can look at a distant star and figure out things such as its composition, mass, luminosity, and even if there are planets orbiting it.
This was all because of Einstein’s work on the power of energy to bend matter and space. Over long distances, this becomes more and more apparent and even has allowed us to spot interstellar phenomena such as black holes.
When scientists and astronomers see a bending in spacetime they can definitively state that there is something causing it. This is because everything in the universe is relative to each other.
Even more, Einstein demonstrated that light itself carries weight. Because light is composed of matter it takes energy to propel it to light speed.
However, as a matter begins to reach the speed of light then it becomes harder and harder to propel it further. Because of this Einstein theorized that nothing in the universe could go faster than the speed of light without bending spacetime.
Because of this Einstein changed how the universe is perceived and ultimately the future of mankind as we continue to reach towards the stars.
Few people in the world have had the impact that Einstein has had upon the world. To this day as we discover more about the universe we only serve to reaffirm how brilliant Einstein was.
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