Discoveries the Theory of Relativity Made Possible

Discoveries the Theory of Relativity Made Possible

At the outset of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein turned science on its head with his Theory of Relativity. In actual fact, what we now refer to as the Theory of Relativity is a composite of two theories: Einstein's 1905 Theory of Special Relativity, which proposed that time and space are fluid concepts rather than absolutes, and his 1916 General Theory of Relativity, which asserted that gravity and motion could affect those fluid concepts.

These twin theories revolutionized physics, cosmology and astronomy at their most fundamental level, raising many formative questions about how and why the universe works the way it does. Einstein's best known equation, E=mc2, enabled the birth of the atomic age, but that wasn't the only area of science informed by the Theory of Relativity. Here's a look at some of the other scientific discoveries from the last century or so that could never have happened with Albert's input.

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from American Museum of Natural History

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from Chandra X-ray Observatory

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Neutron stars form when a star runs out of fuel and collapses. (1:12)

  • 2

    The fastest-spinning neutron star rotates more than 700 times per second. (1:55)

  • 3

    The magnetic fields of magnetars are so strong that they can break apart the crust and cause a "starquake." (3:03)

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