Einsteinian space-time for eight-year-olds


This morning…

Albert EinsteinMILLIE: What is that new book you’ve got?

ME: It’s called Genius and it’s about Einstein.  Have you heard of Einstein before?

MILLIE: No.

ME: Really?  Einstein was a very famous scientist; about a hundred years ago he came up with the Theory of Relativity.

MILLIE: What’s that?

ME: He discovered that, er…well, he discovered that time and space are really the same thing.

MILLIE: What?!

ME: Hmm.  This could be tricky.  So, you know there’s space we move around in?  And then there’s time…

(Millie looks at me blankly over the breakfast bar)

ME: Right.  A hundred years ago scientists didn’t really understand how the universe worked very well.  And they were particularly stuck about how space worked.

MILLIE: Why?

ME: Er, well, because, um, well…  Anyway, no one had ever heard of Einstein before and he came up with a great idea all on his own.  People thought he was mad at first, but then scientists began to realise that what he said made sense and so they…

MILLIE: Can I play on the computer?

ME: Yes.

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One comment

  1. The best explanation of what is relativity that i heard was a quote from the great Einstein himself. He said, “when a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour it feels like only a minute. Ask him to sit on a stove for a minute and it feels like an hour. That is relativity. ” man/pretty girl to be substituted with MIllie’s appropriate favour activity. space time continuum is a whole other sport.

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