Albert Einstein - Anonymous - Stephen Hawking TV - Jim Al-Khalili TV - The Universe TV - Neil deGrasse Tyson TV - John C Mather & John Boslough - Brian Cox TV - Geoffrey Landis - Nova TV - The Washington Post - Extreme Universe TV - Horizon TV - Kip Thorne - Inside Einstein’s Mind TV - Sylvia Nasar -
It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing – a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind. Furthermore, the equation E = mc², in which energy is put equal to mass, multiplied by the square of the velocity of light, showed that very small amounts of mass may be converted into a very large amount of energy and vice versa. The mass and energy were in fact equivalent, according to the formula mentioned before. This was demonstrated by Cockcroft and Walton in 1932, experimentally. Albert Einstein, Atomic Physics, 1948
There was a young lady named Bright
Who travelled much faster than light.
She set out one day
In a relative way,
And came back the previous night. Anonymous, attributed to Arthur Buller
Hawking was going to have to unify the two great but very different theories of physics – Einstein’s theory of relativity is the theory of the very large ... Quantum physics is the theory of the very small ... Hawking would have to force the two together. Stephen Hawking, Master of the Universe, Channel 4 2008
By 1928 Physics was struggling with a big problem. The two most important theories that describe how the universe worked didn’t agree with each other. Jim Al-Khalili, Everything & Nothing: Nothing, BBC 2011
Born in Germany in 1879 Albert Einstein may be the most famous scientist that ever lived ... He thought of a revolution in Space and Time. Without Einstein we might still be struggling to understand how the universe really works. In 1905 Einstein published his Theory of Special Relativity exploring the link between Space and Time ... He thought of this new Space-Time as a fabric weaving together Space and Time. In 1915 Einstein developed his Theory of General Relativity, which modifies Special Relativity to include Gravity, and its effects on this fabric of Space-Time. The Universe s1e7: Beyond the Big Bang, History 2007
But if a black hole is extremely tiny, the laws of quantum mechanics merge with the laws of General Relativity. The Universe s2e2: Cosmic Holes, History 2007
For decades scientists have been searching for one cohesive all-encompassing theory, one that would unite Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, which explains how gravity works over long scales with Quantum Physics, the science of the tiniest matter. Together, these two great theories explain everything humanity knows so far about the cosmos. But, like a cartoon cat and mouse, they’re at war with one another. The Universe s3e2: Parallel Universes, History 2009
Space itself then is the exception to the rule: it can expand faster than the speed of light. But everything inside it remains bound by Albert Einstein and his Theory of Relativity. The Universe s3e3: Light Speed
Of all the riddles of the universe time travel may be the most perplexing. Time travel could involve going back in time or speeding into the future. But for the moment every one of us is frozen in the present. Yet Science holds out the possibility that we might loosen the hold that Time has on us. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, in which Time plays a central role, makes time travel an open question. The Universe s5e4: Time Travel
Most of what Einstein said and did has no direct impact on what anybody reads in the Bible. Special relativity, his work in quantum mechanics, nobody even knows or cares. Where Einstein really affects the Bible is the fact that general relativity is the organizing principle for the Big Bang. Neil deGrasse Tyson
In groundbreaking papers in 1922 and 1924, [Alexander] Friedman demonstrated mathematically that the universe could very well be a dynamic system that, regulated by the gravity of general relativity, could expand indefinitely or collapse back on itself like a deflated balloon. A third possibility was that the universe was in a state of precise balance between infinite expansion and collapse. What would determine the true dynamic of the universe? According to Friedman, the average density of mass within the universe would define how space curved as described by general relativity. Such a curvature would establish the way the universe changed over time.
Einstein would have none of this. Philosophically insecure with anything but a static universe, he had inserted into the equations of general relativity his famous ‘cosmological constant’. This was a mathematical contrivance aimed at preventing just the kinds of unstable universe predicated by Friedman who, in making a number of simplifying assumptions, had removed the constant from his own mathematical calculations. John C Mather & John Boslough, The Very First Light p36
If the universe were expanding, the question remained: What had it expanded from? Georges Lemaître, one of the strangest characters to wander onto the stage of twentieth-century physics, was the first one to attempt an answer. Born in Belgium in 1894, Lemaître was plump, irritating, and ahead of his time. In 1927, unaware of Alexander Friedman’s work, Lemaître published a paper in an obscure Belgian journal in which he drew a mathematical theory that linked general relativity with the comparatively few redshifts that already had been seen. Lemaître concluded in the paper that the universe must be expanding. His hypothesis was two years before Hubble’s announcement that he had discovered galaxies in recession.
Later the same year at the fifth Solvay conference on physics in Brussels, Lemaître tried to get Einstein’s attention. Normally tolerant and kind, Einstein pushed him aside abruptly, saying, ‘Vos calcus sont corrects, mais vorte physique est abominable.’ [Your calculations are correct, but your physical insight is abominable.] Undeterred by Einstein, already the most famous physicist in the world, and bolstered by the confirmation Hubbles’s redshift observations had given his new theory, Lemaître extrapolated his theory to what seemed to him its logical conclusion: The universe must have originated in a primordial explosion.
A letter Lemaître wrote to Nature magazine in 1931 was effectively the charter of what was to become the Big Bang theory. He theorized that this primordial explosion, occurring on ‘a day without yesterday’, had burst forth from an extremely dense point of space and time. He began calling this the ‘primeval atom’. By now Lemaître had become a celebrity in his own right for his revolutionary ideas. At an immense gathering of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in London the same year, he speculated before an audience of several thousand scientists that the cosmic rays may have originated in the primordial explosion. Eventually, he thought, they might prove to be material evidence of the universe’s ‘natural beginning’. ibid. pp41-42
The new theory – called General Relativity – was published in 1915 by Albert Einstein after ten years of work. And it stands to this day as one of the great achievements in the history of Physics. Brian Cox, Wonders of the Universe 3/4: Falling, BBC 2011
In Einstein’s view there isn’t really a separate thing as Space and then there’s Time. But there’s just one thing – Space-Time, that we all live in. Geoffrey Landis, NASA Glenn Research Centre
What would I see if I rode on a beam of light? Nova: Einstein’s Big Idea I: Einstein, PBS 2013
Would you like me to check your mathematics? ibid. wife to Einstein
Bern, Switzerland, 1905: A hundred years ago a deceptively simple formula revealed a hidden unity buried deep in the fabric of the universe. ibid.
What Einstein would call the Great Revolution. ibid.
So, the day after news broke of a possible revolution in physics – particles moving faster than light – a scientist leading the European experiment that made the discovery calmly explained it to a standing-room-only crowd at CERN, the giant particle accelerator straddling the Swiss-French border.
The physicist, Dario Auterio, made no sweeping claims.
He did not try to explain what the results might mean for the laws of physics, let alone the broader world.
After an hour of technical talk, he simply said, ‘Therefore, we present to you today this discrepancy, this anomaly.’
But what an anomaly it may be. From 2009 through 2011, the massive OPERA detector buried in a mountain in Gran Sasso, Italy, recorded subatomic particles called neutrinos generated at CERN arriving a smidgen early, faster than light can move in a vacuum. If confirmed, the finding would throw more than a century of physics into chaos.