Albert Einstein first postulated his Theory of Relativity in 1916. How has it influenced our life? (Photo: Albert Einstein)

Albert Einstein first postulated his Theory of Relativity in 1915. How has it influenced our life? (Photo: Albert Einstein)

Albert Einstein was a rock star of his age. An accomplished violinist, he often said music would have been his career if not for physics. Lucky us. A century ago this month, he presented his ground-breaking “theory of relativity.”

The theory, which is actually broken into two parts, explains how space, time and gravity are inter-related and essentially work together as the universe’s building blocks.

While few people understand it, almost everyone with a grade school science education knows Einstein’s famous equation: E=MC2. It means energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.

“It tells us that mass and energy are related, and, in those rare instances where mass is converted totally into energy, how much energy that will be,” explained Ronald C. Lasky, director of the Cook Engineering Design Center at Dartmouth College, in a 2007 Scientific American article.

“The elegance with which it ties together three disparate parts of nature—energy, the speed of light and mass—is profound,” he adds.

Einstein was one of the founders of quantum physics and spent years preaching its importance and revolutionary nature, according to the book “Defiant Einstein.”

It’s one of three on the physicist being sold by the National Academies of Science to commemorate the theory’s anniversary.

The second book, “Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony: Listening to the Sounds of Space-Time”, shows how scientists are building on his work.

According to a synopsis:

A new generation of observatories, now being completed worldwide, will give astronomers not just a new window on the cosmos but a whole new sense with which to explore and experience the heavens above us. Instead of collecting light waves or radio waves, these novel instruments will allow astronomers to at last place their hands upon the fabric of space-time and feel the very rhythms of the universe.

The third book, “NASA’s Beyond Einstein Program,” tells how today’s scientists are testing Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

“They’re giving astrophysics an entirely new way of observing the universe,” according to a synopsis.

Beyond his pioneering work in physics, Einstein had other wide-ranging interests that began with his music. He was also interested in philosophy and politics and considered himself a Democratic Socialist.

He personally warned President Franklin Roosevelt about Nazi Germany’s work on a super bomb. His efforts led directly to America’s development of the atomic bomb.

Editor’s Note:Because of an advertising mistake, all three books are available to download free until Nov. 30, according to the organization. Click the links above.