For official clarity, I never actually met Albert. He died about 2 ½ years before I was born. But I feel an undeniable connection with him through his groundbreaking work. To say that it is inspiring to me only scratches the surface.
My view of Albert Einstein’s work can be summarized into three ground-breaking efforts of discovery:
- 1905. The Special Theory of Relativity
- 1915. The General Theory of Relativity
- April 18, 1955. The Theory of Everything*
I place an asterisk next to the last one. The date represents the day that Albert Einstein died. And it represents a result that was never achieved. It is a relevant date capturing the event itself because that is the last day he actually worked on this theory. Literally, while on his death bed, he asked for his latest notes on it.
It is the timeline of Einstein’s effort towards a singular goal that intrigues and inspires me. When the phrase “Think Big!” is considered … what could be “thinking bigger”? “I want to know how God created this world,” Einstein told a young physics student named Esther Salaman in 1925. “I’m not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are just details.”
What impacts me is not just the content and results of these three discoveries but their actual sequence and timing. I see a logical timeline that represents a focused effort to a sole destination of discovery. These three discoveries are interrelated and interconnected in such a way as to demonstrate the efforts of one man to answer the largest questions we face about our existence itself. Why are we here? How did we come about? What is our purpose?
A CONVERGENCE OF THOUGHTS
I want to know something. I want to know why we are here, how we came about, and what our purpose is. I was actually inspired by watching other life forms go about their daily lives. A pair of muskrats spending a few hours on some ice flows on the Lake Ontario shore. A group of ants interacting with a plant (peonies) with each being dependent on each other for their own existence.
My thoughts expanded and expanded; ultimately forcing me to search for answers. Why do animals exist (the muskrats)? Why do insects exist (the ants)? Why do plants exist (the peonies)? Why do humans exist (us)? What explains the existence of life? What is its purpose? It became obvious that everything is interconnected – it has to be in order for it to all exist.
I did not come about this by discovering Albert Einstein … I found myself going down a path of discovery all on my own. Then I got to a point where I needed help to explain things further. I started to question my thoughts – and to seek validation of them.
I started to research what was out there.
That is when I met Albert Einstein. He was asking the very same questions.
After spending considerable time with Albert, I realized that his path to discovery followed a very logical timeline and also that he came upon a snag. In 1895, he started out on his journey of discovery leading a decade later to his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905. A decade later, in 1915, he outlined his General Theory of Relativity. And – until his death in 1955 – he was actively pursuing his Unified Theory (aka The Theory of Everything).
Each step was a clear path – nothing was unique on its own – each effort was taken down the sole path of explaining why we are here. But – watch the timeline here. In 1905 the key elements of Space, Time, Motion, a Universal Speed Limit and Matter show clear interrelationships among them. They have effects of relativity on each other. In 1915, Gravity and Acceleration get added to the mix and provide further illumination.
So far so good. Each discovery is so cool and so big. There is a path coming together towards the ultimate explanation of everything. Surely, the complete answer was close-at-hand.
At this point, I have a question for Albert. What if the elements (the “Key Ingredients”) that make up the Universe are more numerous than Space, Time, Matter, Motion, Gravity and a Speed Limit? What if there are quite a lot more of them? If we do not have all the ingredients, how can we bake the complete cake?
A MORE MODEST APPROACH
What if Albert Einstein simply bit off more than he could chew? What if the destination of the Unified Theory requires more incremental discoveries of the very foundational Key Ingredients needed to get us there?
I propose a more modest approach. Let’s just take it to the next step – let’s see if we can add a Key Ingredient or two to the list. The goal is much more modest because it is incremental – just taking the next step forward on the path towards the Unified Theory. Let’s expand the Key Ingredient list to seven.
To make this effort really cool, we are going to keep Einstein’s discovery of relative effect of each Key Ingredient on each other intact. If there are more Key Ingredients, then they logically would have relative interactions and effects on each other.
I am inspired to write a book about this – with the goal of building on Albert Einstein’s work – but only to the incremental next step. I have no expectation of delivering the Theory of Everything; I only aspire to deliver another small step towards that goal. And I believe I have found that next Key Ingredient that will move us forward on that path to the Unified Theory.
That is what my book is about. Adding the seventh Key Ingredient to the inventory of the Universe and defining its relative impact on the other six Key Ingredients (which would be in keeping with Einstein’s approach to focus on the Relative interaction among the Key Ingredients).
WE GET A BONUS
Here is what I also expect to discover in my quest to expand our Key Ingredients of the Universe list from six to seven: We will start having a clearer vision to other Key Ingredients. We will be making progress towards the Unified Theory of the Universe – without taking on the pressure to explain it all.
This is real exciting stuff. I am very glad to have finally met Albert Einstein. I wish he was still around — I have no bigger wish than to have a beer or two with that man.