Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities and Thought Experiments (For Kids series)

Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities and Thought Experiments (For Kids series)

Jerome Pohlen

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 161374028X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Winner of:
2013 VOYA Nonfiction Honor List Selection

Best known for his general theory of relativity and the famous equation linking mass and energy, E = mc², Albert Einstein had a lasting impact on the world of science, the extent of which is illuminated—along with his fascinating life and unique personality—in this lively history. In addition to learning all about Einstein’s important contributions to science, from proving the existence and size of atoms and launching the field of quantum mechanics to creating models of the universe that led to the discovery of black holes and the big bang theory, young physicists will participate in activities and thought experiments to bring his theories and ideas to life. Such activities include using dominoes to model a nuclear chain reaction, replicating the expanding universe in a microwave oven, creating blue skies and red sunsets in a soda bottle, and calculating the speed of light using a melted chocolate bar. Suggestions for further study, a time line, and sidebars on the work of other physicists of the day make this an incredibly accessible resource for inquisitive children.

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“sugar molecule,” to move from one side to the other. By comparing how fast you could move through a ball pit with 10 children to moving through a pit filled with 30 children you could, with some fancy mathematics, determine how big those kids really are. Einstein’s paper was backed up with experimental data that other scientists could confirm. Using this data he calculated the diameter of a sugar molecule to be 0.000000099 cm. It turns out he was absolutely correct. In addition to submitting

while standing alongside the track. Einstein now claimed that you wouldn’t be able to run an experiment on the train using light that would show you were in motion. Light on the train would move at 186,000 miles per second, and light standing alongside the track would move at the same speed. But wait a second . . . wouldn’t the light on the train move faster, at least to the person standing beside the track outside? If the person inside the train threw a ball forward with a speed of 30 mph, and

train ride. As you sat in the train with the clock on your lap, no matter how fast the train moved it should operate the same way. To you. But how would it look to the person standing beside the track as the train rushed by very fast? Einstein looked at the zigzag pattern that would be created by a light-bouncing clock and noticed the different distances the light appeared to travel. For the person on the train, everything seemed normal. One bounce was equal to the distance between the mirrors.

nobody would hire him. Einstein had worked as a substitute teacher and a tutor, but those jobs barely paid his bills. He got this position at the Swiss Patent Office only because his friend’s father had put in a good word for him. So Einstein scribbled away when nobody was looking, and when he got home he wrote even more. He bounced his ideas off his wife, who was a talented mathematician, and a few of his friends and coworkers, but ultimately he was an Einspänner—a one-horse cart. A loner. But

University of Zurich, hoping to become a psychiatrist. Before his first year was over, he had a nervous breakdown and was placed in an institution. His father wrote him an encouraging letter. “People are like bicycles. They can keep their balance only as long as they keep moving.” But the advice wasn’t particularly helpful. Eduard suffered from severe mental illness, most likely schizophrenia, and needed medical help more than advice. He would spend most of the rest of his life in hospitals. 86

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