Most people think Einstein was a genius. Even though he did poorly in school, it is generally assumed that Einstein became a genius later on. It's also widely believed that he used superior intellect and complex mathematical reasoning to finally arrive at E=MC2.

The truth about Einstein is altogether different. Even though he was pretty smart, his accomplishments didn't come from a wildly superior intellect. He didn't arrive at his famous equation by complex mathematical reasoning. In fact, he didn't use mathematical or scientific reasoning at all!

If Einstein didn't arrive at E=MC2 by mathematical or scientific reasoning, how did he get there? The answer is very simple...

Actually, Einstein did a lot more than just invent the theory of relativity. Just look up all the things named after him. Einstein summation convention, Bose-Einstein condensate... just some things that came to my mind in a couple of seconds.

As for relativity, he didn't "make it up" out of the blue, but he used a theoretical argument based on the fact that Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism were Lorentz-invariant. There was also empirical evidence that the speed of light was the same in all frames of reference, but from what I've read this argument was not decisive for Einstein.

Originally posted by KazetNagorra There was also empirical evidence that the speed of light was the same in all frames of reference, but from what I've read this argument was not decisive for Einstein.

Didn't he need to assume a constant speed of light for his calculations?

Originally posted by KazetNagorra Yes, this is the fundamental idea. The rest just follows from the math and other, older laws of physics.

Ah, ok. So, in your opinion, Einstein expected invariance and therefore that assumption almost comes out as a result (so to speak, if it's a necessary condition). Is this correct? Interesting.

Originally posted by Palynka Ah, ok. So, in your opinion, Einstein expected invariance and therefore that assumption almost comes out as a result (so to speak, if it's a necessary condition). Is this correct? Interesting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminiferous_aether

Maybe this puts the thing in historic context (not sure how familiar you are with the concept of ether).

Originally posted by MrMartin Most people think Einstein was a genius. Even though he did poorly in school, it is generally assumed that Einstein became a genius later on. It's also widely believed that he used superior intellect and complex mathematical reasoning to finally arrive at E=MC2.

The truth about Einstein is altogether different. Even though he was pretty smart, his accomp scientific reasoning, how did he get there? The answer is very simple...

HE MADE IT UP!!

….Most people think Einstein was a genius. …
…
The truth about Einstein is altogether different. …
…
HE MADE IT UP!!
..…

Ok -first he didn’t “make it up” as proven by the fact that E=MC^2 has been proven to be correct along with many of his other predictions. If E=MC^2 was wrong then nuclear reactors wouldn’t work etc so it wouldn’t be credible that he just made up the equation randomly but rather he must have REASONED it out.

Given this fact, and given the fact that ordinary people like you or I wouldn’t have deduced E=MC^2 nor made any of his prediction then he must not only have been a lot cleverer than us but, virtually by the definition of the word ‘genius’ he had to have been a ‘genius’ for only a ‘genius’ can deduce things (whether through mathematical reasoning or non-mathematical reason is irrelevant here) that most ordinary people cannot -that’s what distinguishes a true ‘genius’ from somebody who is merely ‘smart’.

Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton Given this fact, and given the fact that ordinary people like you or I wouldn’t have deduced E=MC^2 nor made any of his prediction then he must not only have been a lot cleverer than us but, virtually by the definition of the word ‘genius’ he had to have been a ‘genius’ for only a ‘genius’ can deduce things (whether through mathematical reasoning or ...[text shortened]... ry people cannot -that’s what distinguishes a true ‘genius’ from somebody who is merely ‘smart’.

I disagree. Genius' may be better at deducing things and faster at learning etc but that does not mean that you or I are incapable of it.

Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton Ok -first he didn’t “make it up” as proven by the fact that E=MC^2 has been proven to be correct along with many of his other predictions. If E=MC^2 was wrong then nuclear reactors wouldn’t work etc so it wouldn’t be credible that he just made up the equation randomly but rather he must have REASONED it out.

Einstein wasn't the first who used the formula E=mc2. This formula was used before him.

Originally posted by FabianFnas Einstein wasn't the first who used the formula E=mc2. This formula was used before him.

He was the first to relate it to the idea of malleable space/time and he did in fact reason out the gravitational lens formula, Bending angle =4GM/C^2*r (4* gravitation constant * mass of an object in Kg/C^2 in meters/second * r radius of object in meters. For the sun, it comes out to about 8.4 microradians, or the famous 1.75 arc seconds of bending for a light traveling tangentially to the surface of the sun just skimming the surface. That is pure Einstein. He also reasoned out the mass of atoms by their brownian motion, so how many people did all that in 1905? Lets see, I think it was oh, maybe, JUST ONE. So that makes him a genius in my book. He also invented the magnetic refrigerator, being developed now, very efficient.

Einstein wasn't as big a genius as most people think. He did have a curious mind, however, and he wasn't afraid to think differently than other people around him believed.

Around the time Einstein became interested in physics (1895), electricity, magnetism, and the phenomenon of light were all under intensive study. A number of scientific theories and mathematical equations had already been worked out. There was even a type of relativity theory in existence, called the relativity principle, which had been formulated centuries earlier by the astronomer Galileo.

Most scientists at the time were completely satisfied with these prevailing theories. There were a few situations these theories couldn't satisfactorily explain, but these exceptions were considered insignificant and no one really paid much attention to them.

But the theory was in the air at the time being. Einstein was the first formulating the E=mc2, but he wasn't the first using it. If Einstein wasn't around, then someone else would have done it not much later. Einstein wasn't the only genious one back then.

Originally posted by Palynka I see your crystal ball is still in working order. Rewriting history is pointless and an exercise in faith.

Yes, of course, I'm speculating. I'm not rewriting the history.
There are many great progresses made at the same time during the history. The E=mc2 wouldn't be the only one.
Einstein was not the only one having tha mind of his calibre. A few years later the famous formula would have been there anyway. Perhaps not in the exact form of E=mc2, but still with the same idea.