A Blog for the Curious and the Scientifically Perplexed

This is the story of a great journey that started with a great thought. One day in 1895 a boy looked into a mirror and wondered what the universe would look like if he could travel on a beam of light. That sixteen year old boy was Albert Einstein and that one thought started him on the road to discover his Theory of Relativity. The great man has been reinvented as Albert 2.0 to come back and blog about a journey through space on a beam of light and explain the science behind everything from atoms, blackholes to global warming. If you've just joined and want to start at the beginning use the index on the left. If you're bored try these links below just for fun.


Friday, April 20, 2007

The Beginning, 1223 BC

Earth Time............................1223 BC

Time to Go............................3229 years

Distance Still to Travel.....18,982,601,317,890,000 miles

Have you ever looked into a mirror and seen beyond your reflection? You have to stop worrying if your hair is right or your nose is too wide. Seeing beyond your face can be hard but not impossible if you try. You know what? The more beautiful or handsome you are the more you worry about how you look. The cleverer you are, the more you think about other things and like my grandmother always said, clever people age well. Over a hundred years ago I was bored and looking into a mirror. Did I look handsome? Sadly not, but I was more interested in the light leaving my face, hitting the mirror and coming back to my eye. What would it be like to be that beam of light? What would the world, the universe look like if I could travel that fast? Strange questions for a sixteen year old perhaps, but often all you have to do is ask yourself the right question. That one question changed my life, because I stuck with it until I had an answer. It took me half my life, but it was worth it. I spent all that time answering the question mathematically, but now I want to take this trip on a beam of light just for fun.

“Excuse me, who exactly are you?”

Albert, Albert Einstein of course. Well, I certainly remember being Albert Einstein and then back in April 1955 it all went blank. According to the history books I’ve seen since that’s when I died. Then suddenly I’m back here imagining things all over again. It seems someone has recreated a version of me inside this computer, which is fantastic as so many wonderful things have been discovered while I’ve been gone. How many people get a second chance like that? I get to do all things I never did first time around , like this trip.

“So who am I then?”

Well you have just joined me in a thought experiment, so I could have imagined you or I suppose you could be imagining me. This is my favourite type of experiment because you can go faster and further by thinking than by doing. Whoever we really are, for now we are light particles that have just left a star around three thousand years ago. As we set off over a thousand years before the birth of Christ, the Trojan War is raging and the classical Greek and Roman empires haven't even started yet. During our journey these great civilisations will have come and gone. By the end of our travels when we reach the planet Earth the human race will have progressed, if that is the right word, to a society that has put dogs into orbit, men on the moon and where everyone is looking for fifteen minutes of fame on television. But not all humans are that bad, a lot of good and clever people will have lived and died by the time this journey is over. During the next three thousand years while I’m enjoying the view I’ll tell you all about the important things that have been discovered about science and space. Most of it was discovered by other people but I can explain about my ideas on Relativity and a few other things that I discovered as well if you like. Did you know I invented a new type of refrigerator back in 1926 with my friend Leo Szilard?

“No, sorry.”

Not many people do, but we heard of a family who had died when the chemicals in their refrigerator leaked, all because of a faulty pump. So we developed a fridge that didn’t need a pump and had no moving parts. We got a bit carried away though and over seven years developed three new types of fridge and got forty five patents. Mind you I wish I’d invented the microwave oven, far more impressive.