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[文化博览] 【整理】2012-03-19 阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦 Einstein—3

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People didn't believe atoms in those days but he proved that atoms can actually make small little dust particles move in a liquid. And he calculated the size of atoms.

These papers would have been a remarkable career for any physicist. But Einstein is far from finished

He writes yet in another paper with the famous equation e equals mc squared.

At the simplest level, this means energy can become matter and matter can become energy. The tiniest speck of matter holds potentially huge amount of energy. Unleashing it requires a nuclear reaction--the sort going on constantly in the night sky.

Ever since, people began to look up in the heavens. They would say, what makes the star shine? But it took Albert Einstein to answer the question. Mass, m, turns into e, energy. That is the engine that lights up the stars.

Today, e=mc2 is Einstein's most famous equation. But another theory he published in the same year is more important and more controversial--the special theory of relativity. When Einstein was a teenager, he enjoyed imagining what it would be like to ride a beam of light. Now he returns to this daydream and it changes his life.

In the spring of 1905, Einstein was riding on a bus then he looked back at the famous clock tower that dominates Bern, Switzerland. And then he imagined what happens if that bus were racing near the speed of light?

In his imagination, Einstein looks back at the clock tower and what he sees is astonishing. As he reaches the speed of light, the hands of clock appear frozen in time.

Einstein would later write a storm broke in my mind. All of a sudden, everything, everything kept gushing forward.

Einstein knows that back at the clock tower, time is passing normally. But on Einstein's light-speed bus. As he reaches the speed of light, the light from the clock can no longer catch up to him. The faster he races through space, the slower he moves through time. This insight sparks the birth of Einstein's special theory of relativity which says space and time are deeply connected. In fact, they are one in the same. A flexible fabric called space time.
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