In the first of three papers Einstein wrote in 1905, he examined the discovery by Max Planck. Planck stated that electromagnetic energy seemed to be emitted from radiating objects in discrete quantities. The energy of these quanta was proportional to the frequency of the radiation. This, however, contradicted the electromagnetic theory, which was based on Maxwell’s equations and the laws of thermodynamics. This assumed that electromagnetic energy consisted of waves that could contain any small amount of energy. Einstein, utilizing Planck’s quantum hypothesis, described the electromagnetic radiation of light.
Einstein’s second paper in 1905 proposed what is called the special theory of relativity. His new theory was based on a reinterpretation of the classical principle of relativity. As a second important hypothesis, Einstein assumed that the speed of light remained constant in all frames of reference, as required by Maxwell’s theory.
Later in 1905, Einstein demonstrated how mass and energy were equivalent. Einstein, however, was not the first to suggest the components of special theory of relativity. His contribution joined other crucial parts of classical mechanics and electrodynamics. Einstein’s third and final papers of 1905 involved statistical mechanics, a field of that had been previously studied by Ludwig Boltzmann and Josiah Gibbs.
After 1905, Einstein continued working and made important contributions to quantum theory. Additionally, he wanted to extend the special theory of relativity to acceleration. Einstein showed how mass and energy were equivalent, expressing it in the famous equation, E=mc2 (energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared).
Einstein’s outburst to fame in 1905, also known as the miracle year, astonished the scientific world. Through investigation of basic problems regarding the nature of energy, matter, motion, time and space, he was able to revolutionize the scientific world. Undoubtedly, his discoveries in 1905 alone would have been enough to secure his reputation. After 1905, Einstein achieved a twenty year run at the cutting edge of physics, being the last man to successfully accomplish this. For all the miraculous work and theories he developed in 1905, his best work was still yet to come in the following years.