Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein Biography

Biography

Albert Einstein Biography

Albert Einstein Biography, the most commemorated scientist of the Twentieth Century, born in Germany in 1879 to Jewish parents. Albert Einstein settled in Switzerland and after Hitler’s rise to power, he settled in the United States. He gave theories on relativity that laid the framework for a new branch of physics, and Einstein’s formula on mass-energy equivalence (E = mc2 ) is one of the most well-known formulas in the world. For his contributions to theoretical physics and the evolution of Quantum Theory, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.

Albert Einstein Biography
Albert Einstein

Speaking on a range of humanitarian and global issues, Einstein is also famous as an original free-thinker and heretic personality. After encouraging F.D. Roosevelt to start the Manhattan Project and contributing to the theoretical development of nuclear physics, he later spoke out opposed to the use of nuclear weapons. Albert Einstein was a truly global personality and one of the indubitable genius’ of the Twentieth Century.

Albert Einstein Early life

Albert Einstein was born in Ulm the German Empire, 14 March 1879. His parents were non-observant Jews and working-class (salesman/engineer). His family moved to Milan, Italy at the aged 15, where his father hoped that Albert would become a mechanical engineer. However, his early academic reports suggested anything but a glittering career in academia, despite Einstein’s intellect/wisdom and thirst for knowledge. Einstein’s teachers found him dull, hazy and lazy to learn. At the time, learning languages and the learning by rote was popular and the Part of the problem was that Albert expressed no interest in these fields.

“School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. The teachers behaved like Feldwebel (sergeants). I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for the exam.”

−Einstein and the Poet (1983)

Albert Einstein picked up a geometry based book and read it cover to cover, at the age of 12. – He would later refer to it as his ‘holy booklet’. He became captivated by maths and taught himself – becoming familiarized with the great scientific discoveries of that time.

Albert Einstein with wife Elsa
Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein with wife Elsa

Albert Einstein languished at school, despite of his independent learning. His indifference was setting a bad example to other students, because of this, eventually, he was asked to leave by the authorities. Then for admission, he applied to the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. But he failed exams in botany, zoology and languages so; his first attempt was a failure. However, he passed the exams in the next year and became a Swiss citizen in 1900. He met a fellow student Mileva Maric, at college. They married after a long friendship in 1903. Before divorcing several years later, they had two sons. To avoid military conscription, Albert Einstein renounced his German citizenship in 1896. Before successfully applying for Swiss citizenship in 1901, he was stateless for five years. He attempted to gain a teaching post, after graduating from Zurich College, but none was approaching to him. Instead he gained a job in the Patent Office in Swiss. Einstein continued his own scientific discoveries, while working at the Patent Office. He started doing radical experiments to consider the nature of light and space.

Einstein in 1921
Albert Einstein

Einstein in 1921

In 1900, he published his first scientific paper. He had completed his PhD entitled “A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions” by 1905. Einstein also worked feverishly on other papers, in addition to working on his PhD. He published four significant scientific works, in 1905, which would revolutionize modern physics. 1905 would later be mention as his ‘annus mirabilis‘. Einstein’s work started to gain recognition, and he was given a post at the University of Zurich in 1909. He was offered the post of full-professor at the Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague (which was then part of Austria-Hungary Empire) in 1911. He took the citizenship of Austrian-Hungary to accept the job. He returned to Germany in 1914. Where, he was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics. (1914–1932)

Albert Einstein’s Scientific Contributions

Quantum Theory

‘Light doesn’t just travel as waves but as electric currents’, this was Einstein’s suggestion. He considered it as photoelectric effect which could force metals to release a tiny stream of particles which is known as ‘quanta’. Other inventors of that time were able to develop devices from this Quantum Theory, such as television and movies. In 1921, He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics because of this ‘Quantum Theory’.

Special Theory of Relativity

Special Theory of Relativity was written in a simple style. There were no footnotes or academic references with it. The core of this relativity theory is that:

“Movement can only be detected and measured as relative movement; the change of position of one body in respect to another.”

Thus for judging the motion of the earth or plants, there is no fixed absolutist standard of comparison. This was a revolution in that time because previously people had thought that the time and the distance are absolutes. But, Einstein proved this thought not to be true. In this revolution, he also said that if electron particles travelled at close to the speed of the light then their weight would increase. This statement leads to Einstein’s famous equation ‘mass-energy equivalence’:

E = mc2

Where E is ‘energy’, m is ‘mass’ and c is ‘speed of light’.

General Theory of Relativity 1916

This theory was given by working from a basis of Special Theory of Relativity. Einstein seeks to express all the physical laws by using equations based on the mathematical equations. In the last period of his life, he devoted himself trying to formulate a final unified field theory which encompasses a rational explanation for electromagnetism. However, he was to be defeated in searching for this final innovative theory.

Solar eclipse of 1919

Einstein predicted that the sun’s gravity would bend the light of another star, in 1911. This was the basis of his new general theory of relativity. British astronomer and physicist Sir Arthur Eddington was able to confirm Einstein’s prediction, during a solar eclipse, on 29 May 1919. This news was published in newspapers all around the world. This publicity made Einstein internationally known as a leading physicist. After the horrors of the First World War, Einstein’ publicity was symbolic of international co-operation between British and German scientists. Einstein traveled around the world, in the 1920’s, – including the UK, US, Japan, Palestine and some other countries. Einstein became an internationally recognized figure for his work on physics as he gave lectures to packed audiences, and also because of his wider observations on world affairs.

Bohr-Einstein debates

Other scientists of that time started developing the work of Einstein, during the 1920’s; they came to different conclusions on Quantum Physics. Einstein took part in debates with Max Born, in 1925 and 1926, about the nature of relativity and quantum physics. Although they shared a mutual admiration by the two disagreed on physics.

Exile

Einstein was threatened by the rise of the Nazi party, as a German Jew. When the Nazi’s seized power, in 1933, they clutched Einstein’s property and later started burning/destroying his books. Then in England, Einstein took an offer to go to Princeton University in the US. Later, he wrote that he never had strong opinions about race and nationality but he saw himself as a citizen of the world.

“I do not believe in race as such. Race is a fraud. All modern people are the conglomeration of so many ethnic mixtures that no pure race remains.”

Einstein once devoted himself to a strict discipline of academic study in the US. He would expend no time on maintaining his dress and image. He considered that these things are ‘inessential’ and meant less time for his research work. Einstein was unfortunately absent-minded. He once left his suitcase at one of his friends’ house, in his youth. His friend’s parents told to his parents: “That young man will never amount to anything, because he can’t remember anything.” He had a good sense of humor, although he was a bit of loner, but happy in his own company. Einstein received a letter from a girl, on January 3, 1943, who was having difficulties with mathematics in her studies. Einstein wrote in reply to her letter

“Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics. I can assure you that mine are still greater.”

Just to console her.
Einstein confessed belief in a God “Who reveals himself in the harmony of all being”. But, he didn’t follow any established religion. His view of God sought to build a harmony between science and religion.

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
– Einstein, Science and Religion (1941)

Politics of Einstein

Einstein set out himself as a Zionist Socialist. To support the state of Israel, he did his best, but he became concerned about the narrow nationalism of the new state of that time. He was offered the position as President of Israel, in 1952, but he declined saying he had:

“Neither the natural ability nor the experience to deal with human beings.” … “I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it.”

Einstein receiving US citizenship
Albert Einstein

Einstein’s US citizenship

Albert Einstein was involuted in many civil rights movements such as the American campaign to end killing. For the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), he joined the National Association and observed racism, America’s worst disease. But he also spoke exceedingly of the meritocracy in American society and the value of being able to speak willingly. In 1939, on the outbreak of war, Einstein wrote to President Roosevelt about the possibility of Germany developing an atomic bomb. He notified Roosevelt that the Germans were working on a bomb with a destructing potential. Roosevelt leaded his advice and started the Manhattan project to emerge the US atom bomb. But Einstein reverted to his pacifier views, after the war ended. After the war, Einstein said.

“Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb, I would not have lifted a finger.” −(Newsweek, 10 March 1947)

McCarthyite era, in the post-war, Einstein was scrutinized especially for potential Communist links. In the favor of socialism, he wrote an article named “Why Socialism” in 1949. He suggested a democratic socialist and criticized Capitalism alternative. Also he was a strong critic of the arms race. Einstein remarked:

“I do not know how the third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth—rocks!”

Rabindranath Tagore and Einstein
Albert Einstein

Einstein was a polymath with interests in many fields, but he was recognized as a scientist. He loved music, in particular. He wrote that he would have been a musician, if he had not been a scientist. Einstein played the violin to a best standard.

“I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get most joy in life out of music.”

Albert Einstein Death

Einstein died in 1955, at his request his brain and vital organs were removed for scientific study.

 

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