Einstein’s Big Idea

Gary Johnstone

Over 100 years ago, Albert Einstein grappled with the implications of his revolutionary special theory of relativity and came to a startling conclusion: mass and energy are one, related by the formula E=mc2.

Einstein’s Big Idea dramatizes the remarkable story behind this equation.

E=mc2 was just one of several extraordinary breakthroughs that Einstein made in 1905, including the completion of his special theory of relativity, his identification of proof that atoms exist, and his explanation of the nature of light, which would win him the Nobel Prize in Physics.

To honor the centenary of these achievements, 2005 has been declared the World Year of Physics by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

Among Einstein’s ideas, E=mc2 is by far the most famous. How many people know what it really means? This film sets out to illuminate this deceptively simple formula by unraveling the story of how it came to be.

Based on a book by David Bodanis’s about E=mc2 being the world’s most famous equation, the video explores the lives of the men and women who helped develop the concepts behind each term in the equation: E for energy; m for mass; c for the speed of light; and 2 for “squared,” the multiplication of one number by itself.


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