Thursday, Apr. 05, 2007

Break Out

What was Einstein's miracle year?

In 1905, Einstein had graduated from college but had not been able to get a doctoral dissertation accepted or get an academic job. So he was toiling six days a week as a third-class examiner in the Swiss patent office. During his spare time, he produced four papers that upended physics. The first showed that light could be conceived as particles as well as waves. The second proved the existence of atoms and molecules. The third, the special theory of relativity, said that there was no such thing as absolute time or space. And the fourth noted an equivalence between energy and mass described by the most famous equation in all of physics, E=mc2.