Happy Birthday E=MC

^{2}.

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DURING the summer of 1905, while fulfilling his duties in the patent office in Bern, Switzerland, Albert Einstein was fiddling with a tantalizing outcome of the special theory of relativity he'd published in June. His new insight, at once simple and startling, led him to wonder whether "the Lord might be laughing ... and leading me around by the nose." Joel Holland

An object's mass is its resistance to being accelerated (to having its speed increased). According to E = mc2, an object's mass depends on its energy. This means that the faster an object goes, the harder one must push to increase its speed. (If an object's "rest mass" - called m0 - is the resistance it has to being sped up from a resting position, then Einstein's result can be written more explicitly as E = m0c2/ (1-v2/c2)-½, so m = m0(1-v2/c2)-½, where v2 is the square of the object's speed. As the formula shows, when the object's speed approaches that of light, its mass grows infinitely large, which explains why, regardless of how hard it is pushed, it won't exceed light speed.)

But by September, confident in the result, Einstein wrote a three-page supplement to the June paper, publishing perhaps the most profound afterthought in the history of science. A hundred years ago this month, the final equation of his short article gave the world E = mc².

Full article from NYT's

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/30/opinion/30greene.html?th&emc=th