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Submission + - How would you explain Einstein's theories to a nine-year-old? 2

SiggyRadiation writes: A few days ago my 9 year old son asked me why Albert Einstein was so famous. I decided not just to start with the famous formula E=MC2, because that just seemed to be the easy way out.

So I tried to explain what mass is and energy. Then I asked him to try to explain gravity to me. The earth pulls at you because it has a lot of mass. But how come that the earth can influence your body, pull your feet to the ground, without actually toughing you? Why is it that one thing (the earth) can influence something else (you) without actually being connected? Isn’t that weird? Now Einstein figured out how energy, mass and gravity work and are related to each other. This is where our conversation ended.

Afterwards I thought: this might be a nice question to ask on Slashdot; how would I continue this discussion to explain it to him further? Of course, with the goal of further feeding his interest in physics.
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How would you explain Einstein's theories to a nine-year-old?

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  • the magnet does not obviously "touch" the nail, but draws it closer. that demonstrates the magic of a field

  • Einstein was famous because he was good at PR. He wasn't the most capable Physicist, but he was good at discovering things to work on that would get him attention.

    Now for what he is famous for, it's clearly relativity. The ideas behind special relativity were not new when Einstein proposed his views (Lorentz and Poincare were arguably first), but Einstein was probably the first to completely embrace relativity and the invariance principals.

    Unfortunately, it's really hard to do relativity justice w/o appre

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