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Einstein’s Equation That Gave Birth To The Atom Bomb

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This is the most famous equation in the history of equations. It has been printed on countless T-shirts and posters, starred in films and, even if you’ve never appreciated the beauty or utility of equations, you’ll know this one.

And you probably also know who came up with it – physicist and Nobel laureate Albert Einstein.

The ideas that led to the equation were set down by Einstein in 1905, in a paper submitted to the Annalen der Physik called “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?“.




The relationship between energy and mass came out of another of Einstein’s ideas, special relativity, which was a radical new way to relate the motions of objects in the universe.

If a time traveler assassinated Albert Einstein before he figured out that E=mc², would we still have atomic weapons?

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