Ed has decided that to become the 'Person of the Century' you must have to do something absolutely outstanding. Ed is now on a mission to find out what Einstein did to achieve such fame, and he would like you to join him.
Whatever you read about Einstein tells you he really was a big thinker. Did you know that by the age of 26 he had explained three theories that related to physics and the universe and they are still thought of as being very important today–100 years later!!!
These are the things that Ed needs to understand ...
What is a theory?
A theory starts as an explanation for how something works. For it to become a valid theory, it must be tested to see if it actually explains how it works. Einstein work was based on other scientists' discoveries.
It is impossible to know whether or not you are moving unless you can look at another object.
For example: If you were in the middle of outer space far from any other objects how would you know whether or not you were moving?
So how can you tell when time is moving slowly? Are you aware that we all travel in time?
- Open the American Museum of Natural History's website to understand that time is not the same for all of us.
- The theory of special relativity states that the speed of light is always constant when it's travelling where there is nothing to get in its way, like an empty part of space where its usual speed is nearly 300,000km per second. This is when Einstein's well known formula E=mc² is used.
- But here on Earth the speed of light can change. Go into Joe's Room and see for yourself.
This is based on Isaac Newton's theory of gravity. Einstein was a big thinker and looked at gravity a little further and took it into space! Large objects cause outer space to bend and the larger the object, the further space bends. For example: a bowling ball placed on a sheet of rubber would bend the rubber sheet much more than a marble would on a sheet of rubber.
Wow! You can see now why Einstein was considered a genius.
How well do you understand Einstein's theories of relativity?
Have a go at one of these activities to test your understanding of Einstein's theories.
Extra for experts
Let's try and think like Einstein! Remember he was considered a genius and at the age of 16 (which isn't much older than Ed) he wanted to know how is it possible that light always travels at the same speed, no matter how fast its source (perhaps a train) is moving.
- Open the website Think Like Einstein and work through the three activities.
- Can you explain how relativity works?