Particles of light
On 17th March 1905, Albert Einstein published a paper that would change human perception of the world in which we live, in the paper he suggested that light was formed by particles, a theory that defied the laws of the physics of the time.
Being someone whose knowledge of physics did not extend beyond CSE general science, I struggle when it comes to anything scientific. However, despite being a complete ignoramus, I once accumulated a pile of books on quantum physics, each causing me more confusion than the previous one. They tried to explain to people like me ideas that are out on the edge of physics, ideas including superposition, which is the ability of an atom to be in two places at one time.
Einstein’s contention that light takes the form of particles is borne out by an experiment called the Double Slit Experiment where atoms of light are shone onto a screen. Between the screen and the light source there is another screen with two slits in it—the atoms seem able to go though both slits simultaneously; they seem to be able to be in two places at one time.
It was only by reading Bill Bryson that I discovered that Einstein went on to publish two theories of relativity, one special and one general. In the case of Einstein, very special and most special would have seemed more appropriate.
Einstein, as I understand him, seems to suggest that the time-space continuum bends, and that at speeds greater than that of light, time would be of different lengths.
Einstein’s way, looking at the whole universe as something held together by gravity. Gravity is something that causes everything to curve back towards the source of gravity – as in the way when we throw a ball that it gets so far before the pull of gravity causes it to curve back down again. The whole universe is held together by this gravitational pull; it is all curved and, if I understood it correctly, even light bends when projected far enough. If I understand the ideas correctly, it is not just light that is curved by gravity, but time itself, for Einstein regarded space-time as a continuum.
It is an intriguing idea, the thought that even time will curve back on itself. If past, present and future are matters of convenience and time happens all at once, then it still 17th March 1905, and every other date.
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