It seems so simple: three letters standing for energy, mass, and the speed of light, brought together with the tightness of a soundbite. Yet what it encapsulates is still hard for scientists to grasp. Einstein showed in a handful of lines that as you accelerate an object, it not only gets faster, it also gets heavier.
That in turn makes further pushing less fruitful so that eventually nothing can be accelerated beyond the speed of light. The equation rounded out the theory of relativity he had started earlier in the year. Einstein soon recognised through the equation that the energy released in radioactivity - a phenomenon hardly understood at the time - might lead to measurable changes in mass.
November 21, 2005
E=MC2 Celebrates 100th Birthday
Go, Einstein. It's your formula's birthday. Go, Einstein. It's your formula's birthday. From the BBC: