Friday, November 21, 2008

Anniversary: Miracle Year

On September 27 (sometimes reported as this day*) of 1905 the journal Annalen der Physik published the fourth and final of Albert Einstein's now famous "Miracle Year" papers. The paper, "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", established mass-energy equivalence, leading to history's most famous equation e=mc2.

Now an international team using supercomputers has definitively corroborated the equation. The principle has, of course, been utilized throughout science and technology over the last 100 years, perhaps most (in)famously with the atomic bomb.

*The date listed on the paper is September 27, 1905. There are several references to November 21 as the date on the internet, which may be the journal release date. Or it may be wrong entirely. In any case, the more we talk about Einstein, the better.