E= mc²
Everybody everywhere
has seen Einstein’s equation.
Some can even tell you
what the letters and numbers stand for.
Very few people can intelligently discuss
the General Theory of Relativity
from which this seemingly simple
equation was generated. This disturbs me,
as do many other huge holes
in American public education.  

Let’s ask the question, Why
did we need a General Theory?
The Special Theory
explained so much about space and speed
and mass and energy.
Obviously, since it took Einstein four years
of constant work, there was some major
phenomenon that the Special Theory
failed to account for.  

That phenomenon was gravity.
Whose properties were explained
by the equations
of an earlier physicist, Maxwell.
When applied to gravity
the equations of the Special Theory
did not give the same answers as Maxwell’s.  

After several failed attempts to modify
the Special Theory.
One day Einstein had the thought of the century,
no, of the millennium.
It came to him that if only he let time itself
be a variable all of the requirements to include
gravity into relativity could be reached.
All he had to do was write out the equations
and test them against Maxwell’s.
They fit perfectly.
The General Theory of Relativity was born.  

A few years later
the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos
used the General Theory
to build atomic bombs, like Little Boy,
who, dropped from the Enola Gay
onto Hiroshima
detonated into nuclear fission
less than a kilogram of uranium–235.
Because the speed of light
is such a huge number, the m in mc²
may be tiny and the E is still, literally, astronomical.
Out of those few grams of uranium
came an explosion equivalent to
15 kilotons of TNT.
Hiroshima, and almost every human soul in it,
was annihilated.  

This was not, by his own testament, Einstein’s
finest hour.
He wanted his work to be used exclusively
for peaceful endeavors, including putting a man on the moon,
of which he approved.
He was also fond of wearing a sweatshirt
bearing the words, Question Authority.