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A biography of albert einstein the german american physicist

He is perhaps the most well-known scientist of the 20th century. Einstein was born in Ulm on March 14, 1879, and spent his youth in Munich, where his family owned a small shop that manufactured electric machinery.

Albert Einstein

He did not talk until the age of three, but even as a youth he showed a brilliant curiosity about nature and an ability to understand difficult mathematical concepts. At the age of 12 he taught himself Euclidean geometry.

Einstein hated the dull regimentation and unimaginative spirit of school in Munich. When repeated business failure led the family to leave Germany for Milan, Italy, Einstein, who was then 15 years old, used the opportunity to withdraw from the school. Einstein did not enjoy the methods of instruction there. He often cut classes and used the time to study physics on his own or to play his beloved violin.

He passed his examinations and graduated in 1900 by studying the notes of a classmate. His professors did not think highly of him and would not recommend him for a university position. For two years Einstein worked as a tutor and substitute teacher. In 1902 he secured a position as an examiner in the Swiss patent office in Bern. In 1903 he married Mileva MariC 1875-1948who had been his classmate at the polytechnic. They had two sons but eventually divorced.

In 1905 Einstein received his doctorate from the University of Zurich for a theoretical dissertation on the dimensions of molecules, and he also published three theoretical papers of central importance to the development of 20th-century physics.

  • In fact, when the American physicist Robert Andrews Millikan experimentally confirmed the theory almost a decade later, he was surprised and somewhat disquieted by the outcome;
  • These two assumptions make up Einstein's special theory of relativity;
  • His professors did not think highly of him and would not recommend him for a university position;
  • Experiments conducted since then have confirmed that the quantum theory, rather than Einstein, was correct about the EPR experiment;
  • These predictions were later confirmed by experiment.

These predictions were later confirmed by experiment. Einstein not only proposed that under certain circumstances light can be considered as consisting of particles, but he also hypothesized that the energy carried by any light particle, called a PHOTON q. This proposal that the energy contained within a light beam is transferred in individual units, or quanta contradicted a hundred-year-old tradition of considering light energy a manifestation of continuous processes.

Virtually no one accepted Einstein's proposal. In fact, when the American physicist Robert Andrews Millikan experimentally confirmed the theory almost a decade later, he was surprised and somewhat disquieted by the outcome.

Einstein, whose prime concern was to understand the nature of electromagnetic radiation, subsequently urged the development of a theory that would be a fusion of the wave and particle models for light. Again, very few physicists understood or were sympathetic to these ideas. Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. Einstein's third major paper in 1905, "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies," contained what became known as the special theory of relativity.

Since the time of the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, natural philosophers as physicists and chemists were known had been trying to understand the nature of matter and radiation, and how they interacted in some unified world picture.

Einstein Timeline - The Early Years

The a biography of albert einstein the german american physicist that mechanical laws are fundamental has become known as the mechanical world view, and the position that electrical laws are fundamental has become known as the electromagnetic world view.

Neither approach, however, is capable of providing a consistent explanation for the way radiation light, for example and matter interact when viewed from different inertial frames of reference, that is, an interaction viewed simultaneously by an observer at rest and an observer moving at uniform speed. In the spring of 1905, after considering these problems for ten years, Einstein realized that the crux of the problem lay not in a theory of matter but in a theory of measurement.

At the heart of his special theory of relativity was the realization that all measurements of time and space depend on judgments as to whether two distant events occur simultaneously. This led him to develop a theory based on two postulates: He was thus able to provide a consistent and correct description of physical events in different inertial frames of reference without making special assumptions about the nature of matter or radiation, or how they interact. Virtually no one understood Einstein's argument.

Early Reactions to Einstein. The difficulty that others had with Einstein's work was not because it was too mathematically complex or technically obscure; the problem resulted, rather, from Einstein's beliefs about the nature of good theories and the relationship between experiment and theory.

Although he maintained that the only source of knowledge is experience, he also believed that scientific theories are the free creations of a finely tuned physical intuition and that the premises on which theories are based cannot be connected logically to experiment. A good theory, therefore, is one in which a minimum number of postulates is required to account for the physical evidence. This sparseness of postulates, a feature of all Einstein's work, was what made his work so difficult for colleagues to comprehend, let alone support.

Einstein did have important supporters, however. His chief early patron was the German physicist Max Planck. Einstein remained at the patent office for four years after his star began to rise within the physics community. He then moved rapidly upward in the German-speaking academic world; his first academic appointment was in 1909 at the University of Zurich. In 1911 he moved to the German-speaking university at Prague, and in 1912 he returned to the Swiss National Polytechnic in Zurich.

The General Theory of Relativity. Even before he left the patent office in 1907, Einstein began work on extending and generalizing the theory of relativity to all coordinate systems. He began by enunciating the principle of equivalence, a pos tulate that gravitational fields are equivalent to accelerations of the frame of reference.

Albert Einstein Biography

For example, people in a moving elevator cannot, in principle, decide whether the force that acts on them is caused by gravitation or by a constant acceleration of the elevator. The full general theory of relativity was not published until 1916.

In this theory the interactions of bodies, which heretofore had been ascribed to gravitational forces, are explained as the influence of bodies on the geometry of space-time four-dimensional space, a mathematical abstraction, having the three dimensions from Euclidean space and time as the fourth dimension.

On the ba-sis of the general theory of relativity, Einstein accounted for the previously unexplained variations in the orbital motion of the planets and predicted the bending of starlight in the vicinity of a massive body such as the sun. The confirmation of this latter phenomenon during an eclipse of the sun in 1919 became a media event, and Einstein's fame spread worldwide.

  • Aged 15, the family moved to Milan, Italy where his father hoped Albert would become a mechanical engineer;
  • To this day, historians do not know what became of her;
  • In 1939 Einstein collaborated with several other physicists in writing a letter to President Franklin D;
  • It became obvious to Einstein that his life was in danger.

For the rest of his life Einstein devoted considerable time to generalizing his theory even more. Most of Einstein's colleagues felt that these efforts were misguided.

Between 1915 and 1930 the mainstream of physics was in developing a new conception of the fundamental character of matter, known as quantum THEORY q. Einstein, however, would not accept such notions and remained a critic of these developments until the end of his life.

After 1919, Einstein became internationally renowned. He accrued honors and awards, including the Nobel Prize in physics in 1922, from various world scientific societies. His visit to any part of the world became a national event; photographers and reporters followed him everywhere.

While regretting his loss of privacy, Einstein capitalized on his fame to further his own political and social views. The two social movements that received his full support were pacifism and Zionism. During World War I he was one of a handful of German academics willing to publicly decry Germany's involvement in the war.

After the war his continued public support of pacifist and Zionist goals made him the target of vicious attacks by anti-Semitic and right-wing elements in Germany. Even his scientific theories were publicly ridiculed, especially the theory of relativity. When Hitler came to power, Einstein immediately decided to leave Germany for the U. While continuing his efforts on behalf of world Zionism, Einstein renounced his former pacifist stand in the face of the awesome threat to humankind posed by the Nazi regime in Germany.

In 1939 Einstein collaborated with several other physicists in writing a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, pointing out the possibility of making an atomic bomb and the likelihood that the German government was embarking on such a course.

The letter, which bore only Einstein's signature, helped lend urgency to efforts in the U.

After the war, Einstein was active in the cause of international disarmament and world government. He continued his active support of Zionism but declined the offer made by leaders of the state of Israel to become president of that country. Einstein died in Princeton on April 18, 1955. Einstein's efforts in behalf of social causes have sometimes been viewed as unrealistic. In fact, his proposals were always carefully thought out.

Einstein Info

Like his scientific theories, they were motivated by sound intuition based on a shrewd and careful assessment of evidence and observation. Although Einstein gave much of himself to political and social causes, science always came first, because, he often said, only the discovery of the nature of the universe would have lasting meaning.

His writings include Relativity: Einstein's collected papers are being published in a multivol-ume work, beginning in 1987. For further information on this person. God is subtle but he is not malicious. It is the measles of mankind.