“Imagination is more important than knowledge,” said the most famous genius ever.
That’s right. We’re talking about Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Mad respect.
The German-born Swiss/U.S. citizen was a physicist and a mathematician by profession, so he is not especially remembered for his inventions… Probably because he was not technically an inventor.
But he did indeed think up a few things that have led to the creation of stuff we use all the time. Things like…
1. Clean Electricity
E=mc2 is Einstein’s most famous equation. We’ve all seen it, but what is it actually good for? How has it impacted our lives? For one thing, it demonstrates the link between mass and energy and has led to the nuclear energy we use today.
The first power station to produce electricity by using heat from the splitting of uranium atoms began operating in the 1950s. Nuclear energy makes an important contribution in providing a proportion of “clean” electricity.
2. Viable Cancer Treatments
Einstein’s theories lead to the creation of the first atomic bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy.” After the gentle genius saw the horrible devastation the uber-destructive bomb did in Japan during World War II, he started publicly campaigning for a ban on nuclear weaponry. However, a lot of good has come to medicine and science through the invention of the Atom Bomb.
Atomic research has led to more viable treatments for cancer, diagnostic tests used widely in medicine, and a deeper understanding of our metabolisms.
3. Autonomous Robots
Brownian Motion is what you call it when particles bounce around randomly with no rhyme, reason, or order. Though the question plagued scientists for decades, Einstein cracked the code, and used Brownian Motion to prove the existence of atoms and molecules.
This Einstein discovery is fundamental to almost every branch of science we study today, and is of particular interest to engineers and computer scientists working on the design of autonomous robots.
4. Smart Screens
We think of famous inventors like Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell when it comes to breakthroughs in electricity and the conduction of sound, even though Einstein’s Quantum Theory of Light led to the device you’re likely reading this article on.
He’s the one who proved light isn’t just one big thing; it is composed of small packets of energy called photons that have wavelike properties. This, er, enlightened theory later led to the invention of the good old television set. Without TV, we wouldn’t have modern-day screen devices like smartphones, computers, and laptops. Mind blown.