Calder credits Albert Einstein as one who revolutionized concepts of space, time and motion, and who rewrote the theory of gravity: Calder also notes the landmarks of Einstein’s work to be Special Relativity (1905), dealing with high-speed motion, and General Relativity (1915), dealing with gravity. Subsequent investigation has shown we actually live in a universe very much like the one Einstein described, and investigators have confirmed and developed many of the ideas latent in his equations. Thus, Calder embarks on a journey through the mind, theory, and written evidence of one who could envision the relation between mass, energy, and light.
In 1932, two scientists split a Lithium atom by firing a Hydrogen proton at almost the speed of light; they proved Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity. In the Cambridge atom-splitting experiment, flying helium fragments together possessed, for a moment at least, exactly the same mass as the combined mass of the particles producing them. But while an infinitesimal mass was lost in the translation of measurable mass, such was changed into an energy essence. Thus, Calder honors the genius in Einstein ruminations. Intuitively, Einstein’s braininess visualized mass to possess energy, and therefore energy must have equivalence in mass. His all-encompassing E = mc2 formula permitted no loss of matter. He proposed ‘nature to keep strict accounts of energy and the total energy in the universe never changes; it can only be shuffled about.
In a masterstroke, Einstein deduced light to have mass; he estimated the solar fallout on earth to be about 160 tons of sunlight every day. Though this tonnage constitutes only a minute loss of Sun mass when compared with the whole, these light particles absorb into Earth mass. With this realization, we can understand fundamental energy sources to be those associated with cosmic forces: electromagnetism manifested in light, chemical reactions, living processes, sub-atomic forces responsible for nuclear reactions, and gravity.
From the foregoing, we can deduce 3.504 x 1014 tons or 350.4 trillion tons added to Earth’s mass since the latest estimate of primitive man’s presence at 6,000,000 B.C.
General Relativity deals with concepts of gravity. According to Calder’s definition of Einstein’s theory, mankind is gravitationally attracted in a more complex manner than is generally perceived, much like water climbing the sides of its container in a centrifuge: therefore, the experienced pressure on the sole of man’s feet due to Earth’s momentum. As an example, whether free-falling from a tall building or speeding in a space ship, we attain weightlessness; therein, one cannot feel gravity, but only its effect when in contact with mass motion. Too, the great one predicted ‘gravity slows down time.’ Clocks at Sun or Earth surface run less energetically than clocks further out in space, in successive shells of influence like the electron shells around an atom core. Thus, he envisioned light speed to furnish a fundamental connection between time and space: ‘as a massive body distorts time and space around it, those distortions guide movement of other objects in its vicinity. He perceived gravity to be a peculiarity of space, not of individual items in it.”
Surely, mass gravity is evidenced in the proclivity of electrons circling the atom core, of the Moon circling Earth, of Earth and component circling the Sun, and the Solar system traveling an invisible track -- hurtling along at 175 miles per second (630,000 m.p.h.) -- thus is it captured by a galaxy whose entire body also travels an invisible track through the Universe -- all subject to the law of particle behavior. Gravity is said to rule the universe; subject to this observation, solar bodies are greatly defined in convenient tracks through space and time.
Inherent in Einstein’s law of gravity is the ‘black hole’ existence now popular in astrophysics discussion. We can only briefly touch on the far-reaching influence of Einsteinian ruminations and his impact on physical science: his comparison of ‘g’ forces in a rushing space vehicle with objects responding to a rushing Earth; the relation between time and speed; bending of space and light; presence of mass in light.
Calder encapsulates the genius of Einstein with: “For him it was a matter of intuition; for modern physics and astronomy it is bedrock.”