Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein was born in 1879, Ulm Germany, Albert Einstein was to become the most celebrated scientist of the Twentieth Century. His theories were to lay the framework for new branches of physics. He also becomes well known as a humanitarian, speaking out against nuclear weapons – weapons he had indirectly contributed towards creating.

Einstein is one of the undisputed genius’ of the Twentieth Century, but, his early academic reports suggested anything but a glittering career in academia. His early teachers found him dim and slow to learn. Part of the problem was that Albert expressed no interest in learning languages and learning by rote that was popular at the time.

He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). Einstein’s work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Einstein is best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”)

Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on general relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the large-scale structure of the universe.

He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “services to theoretical physics”, in particular his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory.

Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works.

He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and, being Jewish, did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He settled in the U.S., becoming an American citizen in 1940.On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of “extremely powerful bombs of a new type” and recommending that the U.S. begin similar research. This eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced the idea of using the newly discovered nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, with the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.

Einstein’s intellectual achievements and originality have made the word “Einstein” synonymous with “genius”.

On 5 December 2014, universities and archives announced the release of Einstein’s papers, comprising more than 30,000 unique documents. On 17 April 1955, Albert Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which had previously been reinforced surgically by Rudolph Nissen in 1948. He took the draft of a speech he was preparing for a television appearance commemorating the State of Israel’s seventh anniversary with him to the hospital, but he did not live long enough to complete it. Einstein refused surgery, saying: “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.” He died in Princeton Hospital early the next morning at the age of 76, having continued to work until near the end.

During the autopsy, the pathologist of Princeton Hospital, Thomas Stoltz Harvey, removed Einstein’s brain for preservation without the permission of his family, in the hope that the neuroscience of the future would be able to discover what made Einstein so intelligent.  Einstein’s remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered at an undisclosed location.

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