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Einstein Year - a year celebrating physics - Did you know?
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Did you know?

Did you know that physics could tell you all this...

For some more in-depth physics, see the facts page. Check back here soon for more amazing physics facts!

All Einstein quotes taken from The Expanded Quotable Einstein; Calaprice, Alice (Editor). (c) 2000 Princeton University Press and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Reprinted by permission of Princeton University Press.

  • The crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship material success as a preparation for his future career. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • There is only one road to human greatness: through the schools of hard knocks. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • Of all the communities available to us, there is not one I would want to devote myself to except for the society of the true seekers, which has very few living members at any one time. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited , wheras imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves- such an ethical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty…The ideals which have guided my way, and time after time have given me the energy to face life, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my awareness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has prevented me from feelings of isolation. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • I never worry about the future. It comes soon enough. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • In the last analysis everyone is a human being, whether he is an American or a German, a Jew or a Gentile. If it were possible to hold only this worthy point of view, I would be a happy man. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
  • Astatine is an element so rare that if you searched the entire planet you’d only find a lump the size of a sugar cube.
  • When a flea jumps, the rate of acceleration is 20 times that of the space shuttle during launch.
  • The maximum speed that raindrops can fall at is around 18mph, depending on their size.
  • If every star in the Milky Way was a grain of salt they would fill an Olympic sized swimming pool.
  • 12 Astronauts have walked on the moon, between them bringing back 382 kilograms of rocks, pebbles, sand and dust.
  • Whales talk to each other by making a loud clicking noise. The sound waves travel extremely well underwater and they can hear each other from 100 miles away.
  • A TV screen shows 24 pictures a second. Because a fly sees 200 images a second, it would see TV as still pictures with darkness in between.
  • Cats can see clearly in one-sixth the amount of light we humans would need. This is due to a special layer of cells at the back of their retinas, which acts like a mirror, reflecting light back to the retina's cells.
  • In 1936 Professor Alfred Gaydon underwent surgery on his eyes after an accident. When his sight began to return he found that he could see ultra-violet light, which is normally beyond the visible spectrum of humans. This helped in his work as a physicist, but it did distort how he saw other colours!
  • Because of thermal expansion the Eiffel Tower is 15cm taller in summer.
  • Some people who have two or more different kinds of fillings in their teeth are able to hear high-power AM broadcast stations when located within a few hundred feet of the stations. In such cases, the strong radio waves act upon the teeth fillings in such a way that the electromagnetic oscillations get transformed to mechanical vibrations in the person's head, and these are heard as sound.
  • The amount of sunlight reaching the earth's surface is 6,000 times the amount of energy used by all human beings worldwide. The total amount of fossil fuel used by humans since the start of civilization is equivalent to less than 30 days of sunshine.
  • Tree crickets are called the poor man's thermometer because temperature directly affects their rate of activity. Count the number of chirps a cricket makes in 15 seconds, then add 37. The sum will be very close to the outside temperature in farenheit!
  • The highest temperature ever recorded at the South Pole was minus 13 degrees centigrade.
  • If our Sun were just inch in diameter, the nearest star would be 445 miles away.
  • If the Sun were the size of a beach ball then Jupiter would be the size of a golf ball and the Earth would be as small as a pea.
  • Neutron stars are so dense that a teaspoonful would weigh more than all the people on Earth!
  • On average, airliners will get struck by lightning once every year.
  • You weigh less if you stand at the equator than if you stood at the north pole. This is because the equator is actually further away from the centre of the earth, so the force of gravity is less.
  • Engineers at NASA claim to have made the loudest noise ever: of 210 decibels. This is so loud that it can make holes in solid materials.
  • The mass of the Earth increases every year because of 3,000 tonnes of meteorite debris that hits its surface from space.
  • Who choked on their own invention? Hubert Cecil Booth, the inventor of the vacuum cleaner. In testing how it would work, he was sucking dirt by mouth through a piece of material and ended up with a lungful of dust!
  • The microwave oven was invented by accident, when Percy Spencer found that his chocolate bar had been melted by an experiment he was running on radar systems. He immediately started experimenting successfully on microwaved popcorn.
  • A supernova is the most energetic single event known in the Universe. Material is exploded into space at about 10,000 kilometres per second. All the stars in our galaxy (about 100,000,000,000) would have to shine for six months to produce the amount of energy released by just one supernova.
  • The planet Venus’s day is longer than its year. It takes 225 ‘Earth’ days to rotate around the Sun (a Venusian year) and 243 ‘Earth’ days to rotate on its axis (a Venusian day).
  • It takes the energy output of at least one power station to keep the traffic lights in the British Isles operating.
  • One kilogram of butter stores as much energy between its atoms as the same quantity of TNT.
  • Men are six times more likely to be struck by lightning than women.
  • IBM's ASCI white supercomputer, the fastest computer in the world, weighs as much as 17 elephants and can do in one second what a calculator would take 10 million years to do.
  • Do astronauts burp? Because you are weightless in space, the contents of your stomach float and tend to stay at the top of your stomach, under the rib cage and close to the valve at the top of your stomach. Because this valve isn't a complete closure (just a muscle that works with gravity), if you burp, it becomes a wet burp from the contents in your stomach. Gross!
  • The Moon is gradually moving away from the Earth and the tides are to blame. Every year, the Moon moves a further 3.82cm from the Earth.
  • Gold leaf is pure gold, but you can cover large areas with it very cheaply because it is very thin. Gold leaf is less than 0.00008 millimetres thick - which is only about 300 atoms thick.
  • Every rainbow is unique - each rainbow is formed from light hitting your eye at a very precise angle. Someone standing next to you will see light coming from a slightly different angle than you and therefore see a different rainbow.
  • A bolt of lightning contains enough energy to toast 160,000 pieces of bread. Unfortunately the bolt only takes 1/10,000 of a second – so turning the bread over might prove difficult.
  • If 10 kilograms of matter spontaneously turned into energy there would be enough energy to power a 100 Watt light bulb for 300 million years - a harrowing thought for all weight watchers.