This month is the the 100 anniversary (roughly) of publishing of the likely most famous equation- E=mc2.
Einstein came up with this unconventional (and super cool) idea in 1905, but lagged along and continued his thinking sessions until 1915, when it was published.
A quick simple way to explain the gist of it is to imagine a trampoline, which is all of space and time, and anything with mass (like you) bends it down. Let’s throw the solar system in our magical trampoline. The Sun presses it down super far, creating what is called a gravity well. If you’ve ever seen one of those coin drop things at the mall, where it goes round and round and round? That’s exactly how orbits work. Alright. Back to the space-time continuum. Okay. So gravity bends space. So, if space and time are interwoven, then if space is bent, so is time. In the presence of gravity, time slows (Black holes: here’s one weird trick to stop your aging). Gravity is so strong, that even light bows to it. This phenomenon is called gravitational lensing. E=mc2 also shows how energy and mass and pretty much interchangeable (think M=ec2).
Basically, if your little brother says he’s practically made of energy, he’s pretty much right.
It’s an amazing world of science out there…let’s go exploring!
Infographics by Karl Tate for Space.Com
Ferdinand Schmutzer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons