Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

The father of modern physics

Einstein Pop Art

 

Do you recognise the person in the picture on the right?

It's Einstein!

You probably know him for his famous equation E = mc².

 

 

Did you know you can measure the speed of light using Einstein's famous equation, a chocolate bar and a microwave? Try it - measure the speed of light using chocolate.

From a terrible student to the world's most famous scientist

Now, nearly everyone knows who Einstein is. When Einstein was younger, it wasn't obvious that he would go on to become the most famous scientist ever.

Did you know_Einstein

Einstein eventually completed his high school and university education, but he didn't do well enough at university to get the teaching job he wanted. Instead, Einstein went to work in a patent office. Luckily for us, his job was so boring that it gave him lots of time to think. This is where Einstein developed his most famous ideas.

Why is Einstein so famous?

Einstein is the father of modern physics. He revolutionised the way we look at the world. What are his most famous theories?

  • Theory of Relativity

Einstein showed that Newton was right about most things, but wrong about how gravity affected very large and very distance objects. It's actually two theories - Special Relativity and General Relativity.

Faster than light neutrinos

Einstein's Theory of Relativity changed the way we think about space and time

General Relativity says that large objects cause space to bend in the same way that putting a tennis ball on a thin sheet would cause the sheet to bend. The larger the object, the more space bends.

Special Relativity says it's impossible to determine if you're moving unless you can look at another object.   It also shows that measurements of distance and time depend on how fast you are travelling. This means that if someone your age goes into space for ten years and travels millions of miles, that person will come back looking two years younger than you!

  • Showing that light is made up of packets of energy called photons.

This led to later scientists developing quantum theory. Go to Dr Quantum explains quantum physics to find out more!

Here's how Einstein did it:

  • Showing that everything is made up of atoms.

Einstein managed to do this without seeing an atom. Instead, he looked at pollen grains in water and realised that something smaller than pollen was making the pollen grains move around.

With those three theories, Einstein changed the way we think about space, time and matter. Not bad for someone who was expelled from school and couldn't get the job he wanted!

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Curriculum information

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