Today, November 25, marks the 100th anniversary of German physicist Albert Einstein’s world-changing theory of general relativity, described by The New York Times as “the equation that rules the universe.” There are any number of ways an Einstein acolyte could mark the centenary, among them: dressing up like Einstein himself complete with wig, performing some backyard experiments to see if Einstein’s theory holds up, or even spray painting “E = MC 2” on the sides of churches or other places of worship. But these are labor-intensive, time-consuming, and legally risky. A safer method of observing the occasion is simply to watch a charming, three-minute explanatory cartoon financed by the U.K.’s Science & Technology Facilities Council and featuring the vocal talents of actor David Tennant of Doctor Who fame.
Written and produced by Jamie Lochhead and animated by Eoin Duffy, the cartoon gives viewers a brief, general overview of Einstein’s theory and its importance. Anyone who has used the term “space-time continuum” while sharing Back To The Future theories can thank Albert for, in the video’s words, “treating space and time as one thing: space time.” Ever done “The Time Warp” at a midnight screening of Rocky Horror? Thank Albert Einstein for that, too. At the age of only 26 (try not to feel inadequate about that), Albert decided to improve upon that chump Sir Isaac Newton’s mushy, ill-defined theory of gravity with his own theory: that mass bends or warps space and time. And it was Einstein’s theory that led to the idea that the universe itself must have a beginning point. Hence The Big Bang Theory. Who would have guessed that so much of popular culture, not to mention science, could be laid at the feet of a single, eccentric scientist with a famous disregard for socks?