Earlier this week I watched an excellent documentary on Albert Einstein (see link below, on YouTube). If you want to know more about Einstein’s theory of relativity, you will enjoy watching this documentary.
Here’s an excerpt from TIME’s special edition of 100 Ideas That Changed The World – History’s Greatest Breakthroughs, Inventions and Theories (Copyright (C) 2010 Time Home Entertainment Inc.):
In a single miraculous year, 1905, Albert Einstein (1879-1955), who was then working in a patent office in Bern, Switzerland, published three scientific papers that utterly transformed science and the world. In the first, which would win him a Nobel Prize, he described the paradoxical behavior of light as both smoothly oscillating waves and discrete particles. In the next he laid out a way to confirm the existence of atoms and molecules, at the time still unproven. It was the third paper, on the special theory of relativity, that changed eveything. It proposed that there’s no such thing as “absolute” time or space. They are part of a single fabric, space-time, and they lengthen or contract depending on the motion of the person measuring them. That same paper contained the fateful equation E = mc², which says that energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. Though Einstein never intended it as a doomsday device, by asserting that matter and energy were different aspects of the same phenomenon and could be converted into each other, E = mc² opened the way to the production of atomic energy — and the atomic bomb.
Einstein would rock the world again in 1915 with his theory of general relativity, which extended special relativity to describe gravity as the bending of the space-time fabric. As with so much that he did, “mind-bending” is the best way to describe it.
Albert Einstein Biography (History Channel Documentary):