2005: The Year of Physics
100 years after Albert Einstein’s ‘miracle’
In 1905, 26 year-old Einstein said time can be ‘curved’ by heat and energy. On December 26, 2004, the killer tsunami struck Asia, and changed time forever.
Scientists say that the energy released by the 2004 tsunami made the Earth rotate faster, shrinking the length of a day permanently by 3 millionth of a second! In 1905, a young clerk in the Swiss Patent office, Albert Einstein, declared tha time is as pliable as a rubber band.Till then scientists believed that space was filled by a continuous medium called ether, and that there is a universal, absolute quantity called time that all clocks measure. Einstein said there were no absolutes in nature, only ‘relative motion’…
Einstein had changed a human being’s views on space, matter, time and energy…that had remained the same since 300 BC, when Greek mathematician, Euclid wrote, Elements. 100 years later, we are celebrating the genius of Einstein by marking 2005 as the Year of Physics.
The Great Works
In 1905, Albert Einstein published five articles, within a span of seven months that laid the foundation of modern physics: the theory of relativity, quantum theory and the theory of Brownian motion.
March 1905 – Einstein combined the concept of matter and energy and came up with a new structure of light. He quantified light and said that it exists like particles
May 1905 – Brownian motion Einstein defined the movement of the ATOM. It revolutionised modern physics, with the discovery of atomic energy.
June-September 1905 – The theory of special relativity came about when he said that the mass of every body is influenced by the energy and gravity exerted by it. It was spelled in the famous equation ‘E= mc2’. Einstein had rewritten the principles of creation, within 7 months!
A firm believer in peace all his life, Einstein, was deeply disturbed about the force of destruction that the atom bomb had unleashed. In 1954, he said, “I made one great mistake in my life... when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made.” Sadly,the US is still using the bombs as an excuse to wage war against others.
The clock in the box
Till early 20th century, time was seen as universal, absolute and mathematical. Einstein changed this forever. He said that time was a relative concept and that everyone had his personal clock.
He came up with the ‘clock in the box’ concept. It was a box suspended from a spring. It contained a clock, which operated a shutter. There was a scale beside it and a pointer attached to measure its height. When weight was added the spring stretched and the pointer came down the scale. It rose when it became lighter. The experiment was to open the shutter very briefly and allow one particle to escape. Einstein claimed that since energy of a particle is determined by its mass, one could bring the pointer back to its original position, by adding weight to the box. Thus he proved that time and energy could be calculated independently.