Albert Einstein: The Life, work, and legacy of greatest scientist

Albert Einstein and his contributions to modern physics are well-known. Although he also had a profound influence on other fields of study, such as philosophy, visual art, and literature. The consequences of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity for thinkers across all disciplines were possibly the most far-reaching of his accomplishments. This is seen in the interpretation of relativity theory by British scientists like Arthur Eddington as a spiritual perspective of the universe.

Moreover, their claims were that the scientific laws have a priori mental character and linked it to a spiritual realm. However, Soviet scientists like V.A. Fock used the theory of relativity to support their Marxist materialism. They used to say that science talks about the physical features of reality as they actually are, and so lacks an idealistic component. In spite of the relativist idea attributed to him by some philosophers, Einstein did not hold this perspective. In reality, he had the exact opposite view and felt that moral and ethical truth is relative.

Albert Einstein’s early life

Shermann Einstein and Pauline Koch-Einstein, two Ashkenazi Jews from Ulm in the southern German Empire, gave birth to Albert Einstein on March 14, 1879.

Albert Einstein Maths

Soon after his birth, his family relocated to Munich. They soon after established an electrical equipment manufacturing company. First, he attended a Catholic school, then transferred to the Luitpold-Gymnasium (later renamed the Albert Einstein Gymnasium, for obvious reasons), where he received his elementary education in 1885.

Astonishingly, Albert Einstein was a poor student. To the point where, in 1895, when Einstein applied to the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, he failed the admission exam and had to attend the Kantonschule in Aarau, Switzerland, where he remedied his failing grades.

After earning his high school certificate in 1896, he was able to go to the ETH Institute of Technology to pursue a career as a math and physics teacher. Although he failed to achieve much academically, he did earn a diploma in July 1901 for his efforts.

He had previously renounced his German nationality and been granted Swiss citizenship in February 1901 at this point in time. To make ends meet, he taught private math and physics lessons and worked as a short-term instructor from May 1901 through January 1902.

Albert Einstein’s Start of Career

A fellow student named Marcel Grossman helped Einstein land a job as a patent clerk at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern, where he had relocated after graduating from college.

With his promotion to Technical Expert, Third Class in June of 1902, Einstein was able to continue his work on theoretical physics while still working full-time at the role he had taken on in December of 1901.

When Einstein was in his early 20s, he was one of the founding members of Akademie Olympia, an influential scientific society in Bern, Switzerland.

Einstein dedicated his Ph.D. thesis to Grossman, titled “A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions,” and submitted it to the University of Zurich in April 1905. He had already revolutionized our view of the universe when he was accepted by the University in July of that year.

The academic career of Albert Einstein

In 1905, Einstein had already established himself as a bright scientist while working on his theory of general relativity. In 1907, he was turned down for a professorial job at the University of Bern because of his lack of academic credentials. It took him another year, but he was successful the second time around and was hired in 1908, giving his first lecture as an academic professor at the end of that year.

When Einstein resigned from the patent office in 1909, he spent the next few years traveling between Bern, Zurich, and Prague before being persuaded by Planck and German scientist Walther Nernst to accept a position in Berlin, which was at the time the world’s epicenter of natural science study.

They offered him a non-teaching chair at Berlin University, made him a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences, and appointed him head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics, which had not yet been established.

Albert Einstein’s scientific achievements in 1905

To suggest that 1905 was a watershed year in scientific history would be an understatement. Four groundbreaking scientific publications were published within seven months by Einstein, who was still working as a “technical expert” in a Swiss patent office at the time. This time was like “a storm breaking loose in my imagination,” Einstein later said about it.

Quanta was introduced in the inaugural publication, “On A Heuristic Point Of View Concerning The Production and Transformation of Light,” which was a precursor to quantum physics.

According to the report, photons are the quantifiable particles that carry radiation over space. Intriguingly, this hypothesis was initially rejected before being verified by Max Planck, who was initially skeptical of the notion. Einstein would go on to earn the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on this finding.

“On the movement of tiny particles floating in a motionless liquid, as required by the molecular-kinetic theory of heat” was the following paper published on July 18, 1905. Despite the fact that it didn’t change the fundamentals of physics, Einstein proved that matter is formed of atoms by observing Brownian motion. Though it was widely recognized by a large number of scientists, it was far from universal. The work of Albert Einstein not only proved mathematically that atoms and molecules exist, but it also opened up a new area of physics research known as statistical physics.

However, Einstein was far from finished. Most revolutionary was a paper he wrote after that, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,” published in September 1905. It established the concept of Special Relativity, which deals with the issue of objects traveling in various coordinate systems at constant speeds.

It laid the framework for Einstein’s theory of general relativity and established that as an object accelerates towards the speed of light, its mass likewise increases, which takes more energy to accelerate, which then adds even more mass to the object. When an object approaches the speed of light, its mass becomes infinity, making the speed of light affect all matter.

“Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content?” was published in November 1905 and proved the mathematical evidence of special relativity. It also introduced E = mc2, which has become one of humanity’s most recognizable equations.

Planck’s Theory of Radiation and the Theory of Specific Heat, published by Albert Einstein in 1907, laid the groundwork for modern quantum mechanics.

The groundbreaking theories of Albert Einstein

After the publication of Einstein’s groundbreaking Theory of Special Relativity in 1909, between 1909 and 1916, he worked on a broader version that would be called “The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity”.

This paper had a profound impact on the scientific community. However, general relativity was far easier to understand because of its elegance and (relative) simplicity than Einstein’s work on special relativity.

As opposed to Newton’s concept of gravity as a force, Einstein saw space and time as a fabric that extends in all directions. A moving object in that area would follow a straight path if the area were empty. When the Sun is in the center of a vast expanse of space, the fabric of space warps toward the Sun, transforming the formerly flat fabric into a funnel.

When an object passes through that area, the funnel’s shape causes it to be drawn toward the center, effectively rolling down the slope of that space into the center of the funnel rather than traveling in straight lines.

As long as the speed of something moving through that space is high enough, like light, it is not completely dragged into the center mass, but its route is instead refracted as a result of the gravitational impact of that huge item. This is critical.

Because of this feature of his theory, Einstein became more and more well-known. Einstein was convinced that the gravitational field formed by the Sun during a solar eclipse could reveal this light deflection from distant stars, but he was unable to do so.

Both Arthur Eddington and Andrew Crommelin reported seeing the light deflected in different directions during the 1919 eclipse on May 29.

On November 6, 1919, at a Royal Society and Royal Astronomical Society conference in London, Einstein’s prediction was confirmed. It was the most important breakthrough in gravitational theory since Newton’s time. “This result is among the greatest achievements of human thinking,” said Royal Society president Joseph John Thompson.

Front-page news stories around the world confirmed Einstein’s theory of gravitation, confirming him as the greatest scientific intellect since Isaac Newton and probably even greater.

Albert Einstein Art

Increased popularity, views about racism, and anti-Semitic attacks on Albert Einstein

Increased popularity, views about racism, and anti-Semitic attacks on Albert Einstein

Invites to speak from throughout the world poured in for Einstein, and he accepted them all, traveling to the United States, France, Britain, and other countries, including Palestine.

His trip journals from that period express some broad and unkind judgments about the people he saw in Asia, notably the Chinese, in contrast to Einstein’s public image as a great humanitarian who blasted racism as “a cancer of white people.”

Even Einstein, who believed that racism was social cancer, could be a contradiction in terms. The fact that his recently revealed personal writings were written in the 1920s when such views were not considered out of the ordinary does not excuse him – albeit he definitely changed over time.

To make matters worse, he was the target of virulent anti-Semitic insults both inside the scientific community and by members of the general public. There were Nobel laureates like Johannes Stark and Philipp Lenard who argued for a “German physics” distinct from “Jewish physics” in Germany during the Holocaust.

Albert Einstein emigration to the United States

Albert Einstein emigration to the United States

Einstein and his wife Elsa departed for the United States in December 1932, just as the Nazi Party was on the rise, having won the most seats in the German parliament elections earlier in the year. Einstein resigned from the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1933 in response to Adolf Hitler’s seizure of power, cutting all ties to German scientific and academic institutions. After that, he was never going back to Germany again.

Now that he was basically homeless, Einstein was given a job at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, within days. He bought a house at 112 Mercer Street, which is well-known.

Despite his Swiss nationality, Einstein relinquished his German nationality in 1940 when he was awarded official U.S. citizenship. He planned to remain in the United States for the remainder of his life.

While Einstein was an advocate of nonviolent means of conflict resolution, he signed a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt proposing that the United States begin research into atomic weapons as well, in response to Nazi Germany’s plans to develop nuclear weapons.

In spite of the fact that Einstein would not be directly involved in the Manhattan Project in any way, his endorsement of the work and his famous equation equating mass and energy were crucial to its development.

The unified field theory by Albert Einstein

A unified field theory was a goal of Einstein’s during his entire life, but he never achieved it. While Einstein critiqued some of quantum mechanics’ weirder parts, his contemporaries were fascinated by them.

Einstein famously stated that “[God] does not play dice with the universe,”. Rejecting the role of probability and randomness in quantum processes.

Einstein was isolated from the scientific world in his later years as a result of his disagreements and inability to make significant progress in his work on unified field theory. However, Einstein did not appear to be unhappy about this fact.

Legacy of Albert Einstein

When it comes to the theory of physics, Einstein is clearly the greatest theoretical scientist of all time. As every conceptual revolution is followed by big technological improvements, it’s worth mentioning for those who claim that research should be fundamentally practical that his findings have resulted in numerous practical applications. Since Einstein’s “extremely revolutionary” study on the photoelectric effect in 1905, which was the basis for his Nobel Prize, there have been several uses.

However, people have always associated Einstein with relativity. For speeds greater than the speed of light, Newtonian mechanics can no longer account, and Einstein devised his Special Relativity in 1905 (in his Annus Mirabilis).

Relativity alters the absolute and distinct nature of Newtonian space and time and blends them into a single spacetime, which has far-reaching repercussions. According to Hermann Minkowski, Einstein’s old teacher at the Zurich Polytechnic, “only a type of merger of the two will sustain an independent reality”.

Furthermore, the fundamental concept of “force,” central to Newtonian mechanics, would be abandoned in favor of that of “field. According to relativity theory, what remains constant under specific situations are the physical laws hence the term “relativity” is a bit of a misnomer. Ortega y Gasset, a Spanish philosopher who accompanied Einstein on his 1923 visit to Spain, instantly observed this feature of his work. It was too late to change the label of ‘relativity’ because Einstein himself used Invariantentheorie on occasion.

General Relativity (G.R.) remains his crowning achievement. The GR equations are conceptually straightforward: geometry equals matter. It can be claimed that the curvature of spacetime is determined by the distribution of matter: gravity is the dynamics of spacetime. It is impossible to explain Mercury’s anomalous orbit by Newtonian physics, but G.R., as a theory of the gravitational field, provides the foundation for all other cosmological and astronomical investigations.

In addition, G.R. has unforeseen ramifications, ranging from philosophy, where it invalidates the Kantian apriorism regarding the claimed Euclidean nature of space (and in passing puts into question any other a priori knowledge), to more mundane fields, such as GPS precision. Einstein’s name would be everywhere if our technologies were to display the name of the scientist who made the discoveries that allowed them to function.

The first third of the twentieth century saw all the major advances in contemporary physics, including the theories of relativity, quantum mechanics, and cosmology. Throughout these fields, Einstein’s contributions were bigger than any other scientist.

Of course, he also made mistakes, even if he thought something was wrong when it wasn’t. As an early opponent of expanding universes, Einstein introduced a renowned constant on the geometric (left) side of his G.R. equations in 1917 in order to depict the cosmos as being stationary.

When Georges Lemaître predicted Hubble’s law of 1929, it was widely accepted that the cosmos was expanding. This constant was “the greatest folly of his life,” acknowledged Einstein to George Gamow later on. In reality, Einstein made a fatal blunder by assuming his static solution was enough for the task at hand, while in fact, it was inherently unstable. To put it another way: The “dark energy” that accounts for 70% of our universe has reappeared in G.R. equations (matter) and is accountable for the accelerated expansion that was first noticed back in 1998.

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