A Tribute to Einstein

By ET

I’m always fascinated by Einstein’s life.  I have created a random quote function for this blog on the sidebar with 99.9% of the quotes from Einstein.  Last Tuesday, PBS’ NOVA premiered a program called "Einstein’s Big Idea".  Although having a presentation last Wednesday, I nonetheless sat for two hours to watch that program talking about the elements of Einstein’s famouse quation: E = mc2.  Accompanying that program, PBS has dedicated a site to Einstein

The one quote I like about Einstein is that "I just don’t understant why there is no one understands me, but it seems everyone likes me." 

In 1905, Einstein was a patent officer.  He did not get an academic job because he did not do well in courses other than Math and Physics, and could not get good recommendation letters.  But this is a miracle year:

  • In 1905, Einstein is 26, working on physics on his own. After hours, he creates the special theory of relativity, in which he demonstrates that measurements of time and distance vary systematically as anything moves relative to anything else. Which means that Newton was wrong. Space and time are not absolute, and the relativistic universe we inhabit is not the one Newton "discovered."

That’s pretty good, but one idea, however spectacular, does not make a demigod. But now add the rest of what Einstein did in 1905:

  • In March, Einstein creates the quantum theory of light, the idea that light exists as tiny packets, or particles, that we now call photons. Alongside Max Planck’s work on quanta of heat, and Niels Bohr’s later work on quanta of matter, Einstein’s work anchors the most shocking idea in 20th-century physics: we live in a quantum universe, one built out of tiny, discrete chunks of energy and matter.

  • Next, in April and May, Einstein publishes two papers. In one he invents a new method of counting and determining the size of the atoms or molecules in a given space, and in the other he explains the phenomenon of Brownian motion. The net result is a proof that atoms actually exist—still an issue at that time—and the end to a millennia-old debate on the fundamental nature of the chemical elements.

  • And then, in June, Einstein completes special relativity, which adds a twist to the story: Einstein’s March paper treated light as particles, but special relativity sees light as a continuous field of waves. Alice’s Red Queen can accept many impossible things before breakfast, but it takes a supremely confident mind to do so. Einstein, age 26, sees light as wave and particle, picking the attribute he needs to confront each problem in turn. Now that’s tough.

  • And, of course, Einstein isn’t finished. Later in 1905 comes an extension of special relativity in which Einstein proves that energy and matter are linked in the most famous relationship in physics: E = mc2. (The energy content of a body is equal to the mass of the body times the speed of light squared.) At first, even Einstein does not grasp the full implications of his formula, but even then he suggests that the heat produced by radium could mark the conversion of tiny amounts of the mass of the radium salts into energy.

 I found the following Webring sites quite interesting:

 KryssTal : It’s Relative
A brief introductory account of the Theory of Relativity. This essay uses very little mathematics.

 Muse Astronomy Hobby Page
We have a few Hubble pictures and some astronomy related links you might can use.

 Russell_Einstein Bookstore
Russell/Einstein bookstore, with link to Bertrand Russell listserv at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BertrandRussell/

 Measuring time and other spatio-temporal quantities
Einstein could not, but with a space-time odometer in addition to a light-clock we can now measure time and spatial distance in the common sense.

 The Dummies’ Guide to Special Relativity
An elementary presentation of Special Relativity for anyone who has successfully completed the 6th grade.

 Albert Einstein Homepage
Do not simply search for Sciences but actually FIND them @ ClickCents FIND Engine

 Your relationships with Albert Einstein
Analyze your relationships with Albert Einstein, in mathematical terms, for presence and strength of the four pillars: commitment, intimacy, passion, and synergy.

 Mike’s Place – Physics & Astronomy Links
Links to Physics and Astronomy Resources.

  Person of the Century
Sensitively sculptured portrait busts, by artist Robert Toth, of Albert Einstein, can be presented as achievement awards or motivational gifts. Owning any of these can be an inspiration to you, your family or your friends.

One Response to “A Tribute to Einstein”

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