To commemorate him, we have compiled this list of his main contributions to physics:
1. Brownian motion:
This discovery, made in 1905, explains how the thermal motion of individual atoms can form a fluid.
2. The photoelectric effect:
Also discovered in 1905, it explains the appearance of electric currents in certain materials, when they are illuminated by electromagnetic radiation.
3. Special relativity:
This is another contribution made in 1905. It shows that the speed of light is constant, while position and time depend on the speed of the body.
4. Mass-energy equivalence:
1905 was arguably one of his best years. Yes, the discovery of this equation (‘E=mc²’) also occurred in that year. It shows how a particle of mass has an energy at rest, different from kinetic and potential energy. It is used to explain how nuclear energy is produced.
5. General relativity:
Published between 1915 and 1916, it describes acceleration and gravity as different aspects of the same reality. This theory, one of the best known and most applauded, postulated the basis for the study of cosmology and the understanding of the essential characteristics of the universe.