This is your grandmother’s relativity.
We would have no computers without quantum theory, and airplanes would fly off-course if global positioning systems failed to make adjustments due to general relativity. Computers, travel and communication as we know it would not exist. These things are consequences of Einstein's work, but he was interested in the bigger questions. Specifically, the biggest question of all.
(Read the rest of this eye-opening article…)
This Wired News article also points out an interesting contest going on this year: try to explain Special Relativity to your grandmother. You have to create some kind of multimedia presentation (Flash, PowerPoint, etc.) that explains the theory well enough that even the layperson can understand it. The prize: 25,000€ (more than $30,000); the deadline: March 31st, 2005. Expect to see my submission soon.
The best part is that this contest is being run by Pirelli, an Italian tire company! Anyhow, I’m interested to see what comes out of this contest, because I find things like relativity and string theory intensely cool.