Albert Einstein rewrote the laws of nature. He completely changed the way we understand the behavior of things as basic as light, gravity, and time.

Although scientists today are comfortable with Einstein’s ideas, in his time, they were completely revolutionary. Most people did not even begin to understand them.

If you’re new to science, you’ll probably find that some of his ideas take time to get used to!


provided powerful confirmation that atoms and molecules actually exist, through his analysis of Brownian motion.

• demonstrated the photoelectric effect, establishing that light can behave as both a wave and a particle. Light particles (he called them quanta) with the correct amount of energy can eject electrons from metals.

• proved that everyone, whatever speed we move at, measures the speed of light to be 300 million meters per second in a vacuum. This led to the strange new reality that time passes more slowly for people traveling at very high speeds compared with people moving more slowly.

• discovered the hugely important and iconic equation, E = mc2, which showed that energy and matter can be converted into one another.