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What did Albert Einstein discover?

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Quick Answer

Albert Einstein discovered the general theory of relativity. It is one of the two pillars of modern physics, the other being quantum mechanics. He is best known for his mass–energy equivalence formula: E = mc2, which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation".

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Full Answer

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. He was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his services to theoretical physics, especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. The latter was pivotal in establishing quantum theory.

Einstein always appeared to have a clear view of the problems of physics and the determination to solve them. He had a strategy of his own and was able to visualize the main stages on the way to his goal. He regarded his major achievements as mere stepping-stones for the next advance.

At the start of his scientific work, Einstein realized the inadequacies of Newtonian mechanics, and his special theory of relativity stemmed from an attempt to reconcile the laws of mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. He dealt with classical problems of statistical mechanics and problems in which they were merged with quantum theory. This led to an explanation of the Brownian movement of molecules. He investigated the thermal properties of light with a low radiation density. His observations laid the foundation of the photon theory of light.

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