Saturday, July 10, 2010

So just why is this Einstein guy famous?

Everybody knows this guy. It doesn’t matter if you are a scientist, engineer, musician, athlete or an office worker. Albert Einstein is amazing simply for the single achievement of becoming the “rock star” of scientists. The only other scientist to ever come close to his level of world wide fame might be Sir Isaac Newton (whom we will introduce next post).

So why all the fame? Do you know just what it was that made this guy so great? Sure he’s smart, but there are tons of smart scientists out there that are virtually unknown (in fact most of them are pretty obscure).

Here’s one reason:


One of the most simple and elegant science equations ever written. Only 3 letters (variables) and one is usually always constant (c). But why? What does this equation mean? Just why is it so important?

First off, since this blog is written for those with no science and math background, lets make sure we understand just how simple and easy a math equation is to understand. I know, most math equations look like greek to most people, but they are actually very easy to comprehend by anyone, way more easy than learning another language (the author is currently learning French).

So, lets start off by translating this equation into English. After all, every math equation is just another form of a “sentence” expressed in the language of algebra.

What this equation says in English is simple: All the energy (E) in an object has to be equal to the amount of mass (m) in the object multiplied by speed of light (c) squared.

(Notice how math reduced all that text down to three letters with no loss of meaning. This is one reason why math is considered the "universal language")

A “square” is a simple concept you learned way back in grade school. It’s a number multiplied by itself. So the square of 8 is simply 8 times 8, which equals 64. Here’s the deal, the bigger the number you are squaring, the bigger the total square is going to be. In this case, “C” is the speed of light, which is an amazingly big number: 671 million miles per hour to be exact. Think about that for a minute, how fast does your car go? This can only mean that when we square this number by multiplying it by itself, we are going to be left with one insanely huge number: 450,241 TRILLION. That’s a hell of a number. One that the human mind, even Einstein's, cannot truly comprehend.

So the basic idea here is that “c2” is big…really, really, really big. Now what happens when you multiply this huge amount with any other number (in this case, an object's mass)? Even if the number is very very small you will still be left with a huge number in the end.

So what this equation is saying is that there is a hell of a lot of energy stored in even the smallest amount of matter. So much energy in fact, that if you could release it, you’d end up with this:

That’s right, nuclear fission is the process of splitting apart a very small amount of matter (just a couple of atoms). Most of that matter is released in the form of “radiation”, which for our purposes is the same thing as energy. Light, heat, gamma rays, x-rays…etc are all forms of radiation or energy. We see the light and feel the heat from the explosion; we don’t see the huge amount of energy that is released as harmful radiation. But its in there.

This is what Einstein is partly famous for (we’ll get into some other cool things later).

But the basic understanding here, that everyone can easily understand, is that Einstein discovered a basic law of nature. A law that states that every little bit of matter that exists in the universe is actually an extremely dense form of tightly packed energy. A similar (but not entirely accurate) way to think of this is: matter is like energy that has been “frozen” down to a really small space.

Now, the next time you see a picture of Einstein, watch a video of a nuclear explosion or see the most famous equation in the history of science, you'll know exactly how they are all related and exactly what they mean. In fact, you now have the same understanding as a scientist...just with out a lot of the math that was used to prove it!


  1. "I've never needed MC Squared in my life. The fella who invented the video, I watch one a day".

    -Karl Pilkington

  2. I think he is amazing MC squared is fantastic, it has helped me so much!!!!
    Thank you Einstien!!!:-P

  3. That is soooo wierd dude!!!
    Get a life!!!!