“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” — Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize-Winning Theoretical Physicist
Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Albert Einstein published the paper that outlined his discovery of a mass-energy equivalence formula in the academic journal Annalen der Physik on this day in 1905. The formula, E = mc², establishes that every object with mass has an equivalent amount of energy and vice versa. Often dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”, this paper was just one of four that Einstein published in 1905 that outlined significant findings in the field of physics, leading to the four articles being dubbed the “Annus mirabilis papers” — Latin for “extraordinary year”. These works became the foundation for modern physics, providing evidence to explain scientific phenomena like the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity and mass-energy equivalence. Always a curious mind, Einstein would publish more than 300 scientific papers throughout his career, eventually winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 for “his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”.