**2****Albert Einstein**174 points - 11 lists - Highest Position: 1 (Gunflyer)**Short Biography**Albert Einstein was born in 1879 in Ulm, Germany. He grew up with a passion for models, mathematics, and reading. As a young man, he worked at the patent office, examining mostly electrical transmission and mechanical time-synchronization patents.

**Major Discoveries**The year was 1905. In that year, Einstein published works that would transform our understanding of physics. His annus mirabilis papers discussed four topics:

1. the photoelectric effect, which describes how light can displace electrons in a material, causing a current to flow when light is shone on a metal. To explain this, he invoked the idea of quanta of light--discrete packets of light called photons;

2. brownian motion, which is the apparently random motion of particles in a fluid. This was due, he explained, to the particles colliding with atoms. It provided empirical evidence that atoms were real objects as well as establishing fluid mechanics and statistical mechanics;

3. special theory of relativity, which describes an absolute speed limit and the equivalence of the results of physical experiments in all inertial reference frames (ie. observers that are moving with constant velocity with respect to each other);

4. the equivalence of mass and energy. This is the one most people are familiar with. The actual form of the equation is E^2 = p^2*c^2 + m^2*c^4, which relates the total energy of a body, E, with its mass, m,

*and* its momentum, p. Ten years later, Einstein furthered our understanding of gravity with his general theory of relativity, which relates acceleration, mathematical curvature, and gravity. If we know how a space is described mathematically, we can calculate how bodies moving through the space will interact.