Albert Einstein: Brief Biography Review

Introduction

Albert Einstein was born on March 14,1879 at Ulm, in Wurtemberg, Germany. He was the most recognized scientist in history. As a child, Einstein had speech difficulties, but he was also the top student in his elementary school (Rosenkranz, Ze’ev, 2005). Initially, Einstein started taking interest in deductive reasoning and later learned the Euclidean geometry. Then, he started working hard on calculus. When Einstein applied to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, he could not pass the entrance exam. But ultimately, he graduated from ETH in 1900 with a degree in physics (A Brief Biography of Albert Einstein (April 2005)). It took him two years to find a job after having completed his graduation.

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In 1905, Einstein published four papers while working in the patent office. These papers were known as the Anna Mirabilis papers.

His first paper was on the photoelectric effect. In this paper, he said that the photoelectric effect could be understood by the idea introduced by Max Planck in 1900. Einstein himself called this work as ‘revolutionary’.

His next paper was on Brownian motion that supported the atomic theory. It explained the random movement of tiny particles in the presence of light.

The third paper was on electrodynamics of moving bodies.

His fourth paper was on mass-energy equivalence. He gave it in the form of a mathematical equation, i.e. E=mc­­­­ 2. He showed that tiny amount of mass could be converted into energy (Einstein 1905).

All these four papers were great achievements in Einstein’s life and this year 1905 was known as the ‘Wonderful Year’ of his life.

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At the age of 26, Einstein was awarded PhD by the University of Zurich. In 1910, Einstein wrote a paper which gave answers to the question- “Why the sky is blue?”

The paper was on ‘critical opalescence’.

In 1909, Einstein published a paper titled “The Development of Our Views on the Composition and Essence of Radiation”. This paper was based on the quantization of lighht and it also introduced the concept of “photons”. Sometime after 1911, Einstein published a paper which explained the effects of gravitational force on light. This helped scientists to study the deflection of light during the solar eclipse. Earlier, his theory was not supported but later on, some scientists did support Einstein’s discovery although, substantial evidences were not found in most of the cases.

In 1914, he became a professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin. From 1914-1932 Einstein was also the director of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics.

In 1921, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics most importantly for his discovery of the law of photoelectric effect.

Einstein also collaborated with an indian pysicist Satyendra Nath Bose. Bose sent Einstein a decription which stated that light could be understood as a gas. Now, the Bose-Einstein statistics are used to describe the behaviors of any assembly of “bosons” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein).

Further in 1926, Einstein, along with one of his former students, Leó Szilárd, a Hungarian physicist, invented and later patented the Einstein refrigerator. This refrigerator used only heat as an input and not ice or any other substance.

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There was also a time in the 1920s when, Einstein did not support the ideas propounded by a scientist Neil Bohr. According to Einstein, he was unappy with the quantum theory given by Neil Bohr and Heisenberg.

Religious outlook of Einstein

In his book The World as I See It, he wrote: “A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein).

In one of his books, Einstein has said that “… … science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind … a legitimate conflict between science and religion cannot exist.” (Einstein 1940, pp. 605–607)

Political phase of Einstein

Having had a great image and position in the field of physics, Einstein was often called on to give his statements on topics, which were not related to science at all. He was also at a position that allowed him to write about some ideas or theories provocatively although some of the other contemporaries could not do so. His involvement in political, humanitarian, and academic projects in various countries, and his new acquaintances with scholars and political figures from around the world, got him less time to work in the field of science.

When President Chaim Weizmann died in 1952, Einstein was offered the post of Israel’s second president, but he declined the offer.

Death

Finally, on April 18, 1955, Einstein died due to the internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an aortic aneurysm. Before his cremation, the princeton hospital removed Einstein’s brain for preservation for further studies in the hope that the world could come to know what was it that made Einstein so intelligent.

Impact on masses

Einstein was often stopped on the streets by people. They pleaded him to explain to them the theories given by him. Einstein would always escape by saying that they mistook him for Einstein. He was also a favourite of cartoonists because he was known for his queer way of hairstyle. He also had a very expressive face.

Achievements

  • Einstein received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.
  • He was a fellow of the Royal Society in 1921.
  • He was the Honorary Member of LMS in 1924.
  • He was awarded the royal society Copely Medal in 1925.
  • Fellow of royal society of Edinburg in 1927.
  • AMS Gibbs Lecturer in 1934.

In 1999, Einstein was named “Person of Century” by Times Magazine.( Golden, Frederic (January 3, 2000), “Person of the Century: Albert Einstein”, Time)

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References

A Brief Biography of Albert Einstein (2005). Web.

Einstein, Albert (1949). The World as I See It. Philosophical Library. ISBN 0806527900.

Golden, Frederic (2000), “Person of the Century: Albert Einstein”, Time, Web.

Rosenkranz, Ze’ev (2005), Albert Einstein — Derrière l’image, Editions NZZ, Zürich, p. 29, ISBN 3-03823-182-7. Web.

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