(Close to) 50 years after the death of Albert Einstein, I was hunched over my computer looking for a way to pass time, when I decided to acknowledge the crazy notions of a super genius. So here we go:
- Moving objects gain weight, shrink in size and experience time more slowly than a stationary object. Crazy, but follows logically from Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (STR). Not only have the three ideas above been proven mathematically, but also experimentally. Although, quite sadly, we can’t experience the effects of STR in our day-to-day lives, NASA needed Einstein’s wisdom to get to the moon.
- There is no way to know whether you are moving or simply stationary. This was enough to elicit the fury of physicists around the world. Silly as it sounds, it is again a logical idea. Ever look out the window of a moving train and ask yourself whether you are actually moving, or whether the background you observe is moving? Einstein did. And as a result of that nonsensical question, Einstein went on to assert that motion is relative. Only B can determine whether A is stationary or not. Moving on . . .
- Light is affected by gravity and can be bent. Or rather distorted by gravitational attraction. It was a solar eclipse that made Albert Einstein a scientific celebrity in less than 24 hours. His General Theory of Relativity (GTR) was proved when a very determined Englishman trekked to Africa to photograph and prove that during the solar eclipse light was distorted by 1.7 arcseconds, the precise predictions of GTR.
- We can make portals through space and time. No, it isn’t just science fiction. Einstein proved for the first time that we can in fact time travel if we produce a wormhole. This gave the inspiration for Christopher Nolan to make his film Interstellar. Wormholes can also be used for teleportation. It is believed to be a wormhole that Coraline crawled through to reach the “Other Universe”.
- The most famous equation ever. Also easily the most misinterpreted equation ever. Annoyingly, the mathematics used to obtain this equation is, according to the Heinemann Physics Textbook “outside the scope of this course”, but the equation itself is very simple. The total energy of an object is equal to the mass of the object when moving multiplied by the speed of light squared. When the object isn’t moving, the equation changes very slightly to , where is the “rest mass”.
However, as much as we can praise Einstein, he also made a widely publicised mistake. And then made another one. In fact, Einstein publicly rejected and completely abased a whole new branch of mind-bogglingly theoretical physics.
- Einstein refused to believe String Theory. One of the most criticised decisions of Einstein’s was that he refused to believe string theory. String theory is the study of physics dealing with objects on the subatomic level. It states that atoms contain tiny constantly vibrating strings which are the reason why objects behave as objects. String theory leads to shocking conclusions like 26 dimensions of the Universe, and this may have been why Einstein rejected it. Now we know that he was wrong.
- Einstein refused to believe Schrodinger’s Cat Theorem. The Schrodinger’s Cat Theorem states that particles behave differently when being observed. This has been experimentally proven with the Double Slit Experiment and so on. Although the topic is counter-intuitive, physicists are in full support of it. However, during Einstein’s time, the Theorem stated that an object is only visible to us when we observe it. Schrodinger copped the brunt of Einstein’s anger. Einstein said “I won’t believe that the Moon is only there when I look for it . . . God does not play dice with the Universe”.
In general, Einstein hated the idea of Quantum Mechanics, but now we have groundbreaking evidence supporting it. Funnily enough, though, it was Einstein’s Nobel Prize winning work on the Photoelectric Effect that inspired study into Quantum Mechanics.
Written by Akshayan Manivannan, Year 9