It’s been one hundred years since Albert Einstein’s miraculous year of 1905. During that year, Einstein, “a young patent clerk, found the way forward. In five remarkable papers, he showed that atoms are real (it was still controversial at the time), presented his special theory of relativity, and put quantum theory on its feet,” writes the Economist.
Yet, we don’t quite understand what that year was all about. And yet, Einstein was just beginning. He went on to develop a general theory of relativity and become a pioneer in quantum physics. So, what did Einstein do in 1905? This article offers a good explanation.
Einstein had the ability to see the big picture, to borrow a tired phrase. He could see what others of his day couldn’t envision. Writes the Economist: “As he said in 1932, â€œthe real goal of my research has always been the simplification and unification of the system of theoretical physics.â€ He never succeeded in unifying physics, but he did, much as it may seem paradoxical to the layman, succeed in simplifying it. Once one learns the complex mathematical language required to express his ideas, Einstein’s theories are the simplest and most obvious of any in physics.”