All In Einstein's Head

History |

Albert Einstein was able to redefine our understanding of the universe by maintaining clear thoughts of unnecessary information. He conducted his experiments solo, using basic physics principles. It was during these experiments that he came to a mind blowing conclusion that space and time are intertwined. Decades later he was able to discover that gravity is able to distort space and time. All these began when Einstein was 16 and he harbored the thought of racing alongside a beam of light. It’s with this type of imagination that enabled him to make leaps and connections and was able to explain his insights using analogies. 

Ben Schumacher, a physicist at Kenyon College thinks that Einstein must have been inspired by Galileo since his thoughts were part of a greater tradition in physics. Einstein went ahead in the 17th centuries to explain why we don’t feel the motion of earth’s rotation round the sun. He noted that we can’t notice the motion of the earth except by looking at our current position relative to the suns and the stars. According to Einstein, Galileo’s thought experiments possessed much deeper implications. Laws in physics were not able to tell whether you are in motion or not. Such law in turn helped in discovering the speed of light. In the 1860s, James Clerk Maxwell was able to develop a theory of electricity and magnetism. The theory described how changes in an electric field are able to give rise to a magnetic field and vice versa.

Einstein realized it was difficult and close to impossible to catch up to the front of the beam. The outcome of the light beam can therefore be considered to be a bit of an anticlimax. That’s according to Dennis Lehmkuhl, the scientific editor of the Einstein Papers Project. Einstein wasn’t satisfied with special relativity since it was to work only when objects moved at constant speeds. He instead wanted a theory that was able to encompass motion regardless of whether the speed was constant or not. Einstein then came up with a thought that he named as the thought experiment of the falling workman, he would later describe it as the happiest thought of his life. This is because the thought was able to provide the necessary jump start he needed for his general theory of relativity. He pushed the thought further by imagining the workman falling in a windowless capsule in space. The acceleration possessed by the space craft was able to restore the sensation of gravity. The two thoughts made it possible to come up with the equivalence principle; this showed that the effects of acceleration and gravity are equivalent.

Einstein used Galileo’s mechanics experiments and tried them with light. Einstein was able to discover that light can be bent by gravity. He was also able to show that gravity wraps up space. More studies have shown that as the gravitational field grows stronger so does the time become slower.

Indeed, from the thought experiments, Einstein was able to show that gravity wraps around space and time. A fact that has been found to be very useful to astronomers, especially when going for space missions. 

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Autumn Mcleod

Senior Writer

Autumn came to us really wanting to break away from the politics that came with working for major news sites. She leads our positive story writers in creating the best, engaging stories out there. She is an enthusiast of all things from the roaring twenties.