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What is the theory of relativity?

We explain what the theory of relativity for kids is and what are the two theories that compose it. Also, who was Albert Einstein.

What is the theory of relativity?

It is known as the Theory of Relativity or even Einstein’s Theory, the set of scientific formulations developed at the beginning of the 20th century by physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Its objective was to solve the theoretical incompatibility that exists between the two primary fields of physics: Newtonian mechanics and electromagnetism

These formulations were published as two distinct scientific theories:

  • The Theory of Special Relativity (1905), a treatise on the physics of the movement of bodies in the absence of gravitational or gravity forces, where Maxwell’s equations referring to electromagnetism were compatible with those of Newton concerning motion.
  • The Theory of General Relativity (1915), a theoretical approach to gravity posed by the replacement of Newtonian gravity, that is, it is the same Special Theory but in the presence of gravitational forces.

The basic foundations of the Theory of Relativity can be summarized in that the location in space and time (referred to as space-time, a kind of four-dimensional matrix proposed by Hermann Minkowski) of a given phenomenon, will always depend on the speed at which Move observer.

Or said in simpler terms: things can be perceived very differently depending on the point of view of the observer, even in terms of dimensions that until now were thought absolute, such as time or space.

This, which apparently looks like something simple, allowed us to rethink the way in which contemporary physics understood time and space. In addition, it opened the door to a whole series of new equations around phenomena that initially seem to contradict common sense.

These phenomena include spatial contraction, time dilation, the universal speed limit (equivalent to the speed of light ). On the other hand, Einstein discovered the equivalence between mass and energy, which he expressed in the famous formula E = mC 2 ( energy equals mass per squared velocity).

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  1. Importance of the Theory of Relativity

Thanks to the theory of relativity, it was discovered how to take advantage of nuclear energy.

Einstein’s Theories refounded modern physics. They were quickly adopted by all the major centers of thought and study of physics in the world.

They also had an important impact on philosophy, since among other things they denied the existence of absolute time and allowed to think, in serious terms, issues that were once exclusive to fantasy and reverie, such as time manipulation or space travel high speed.

Although its concrete explanation may be tedious or complicated, it should be noted that the Theory of relativity has been proven. In fact, it has been implemented in such complex matters as atomic energy ( atomic bombs, for example).

In addition, there is evidence of the slight but undeniable differences in aging and the course of time that occur between astronauts and inhabitants of the Earth, given that the latter, being more subject to the gravity of the planet, a live time faster.

Einstein’s theories allowed the emergence of cosmology, which is a branch of physics dedicated to determining the conditions of origin of the universe. His observations on the curvature of the light were verified publicly in 1919, within the framework of a solar eclipse.

  1. Albert Einstein’s biography

Albert Einstein theory of relativity biography
Einstein fled to the US shortly before Nazism came to power in Germany.

Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany, in 1879 , the son of Hermann Einstein and Pauline Koch, a family of Jewish descent. It is said that his intellectual development was late and he presented as a child a noticeable slowness to express himself, which made his parents think he had some kind of mental retardation.

As a child, he was shy, patient, and methodical. Later he demonstrated a remarkable talent for the natural sciences, despite never being a brilliant student. The rigidity of the German education system in the imperial era always played against him and it is said that he had a few altercations with the authorities.

He graduated as a professor of mathematics and physics, and his first wife was the radical feminist Mileva Marić. His genius went unnoticed and wasted until, at the beginning of the twentieth century, he published his first essays on physics.

The brilliance of his contributions to the camp did not prevent him from being afraid of the anti-Semitic policies proclaimed by the German Nazi regime (which later reached power in 1933). That is why Einstein fled to the United States in 1932, along with his second wife, his cousin Eva Loewenthal.

In the United States, he obtained nationalization and continued his studies, focusing on a Theory that unified the four fundamental interactions of nature. This work remained unfinished.

At 76, Einstein suffered an aneurysm in the abdominal aorta and died on April 18, 1955, at Princeton Hospital. His body was cremated that same day. Previously, the hospital pathologist extracted his brain, without family permission, in order to preserve it for future studies regarding his incredible intelligence.

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