Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Albert Einstien

Albert Einstein was born March 14, 1879 in Württemberg, Germany. He grew up in Munich and later lived in Italy. Einstein received most of his education in Switzerland. At age 17 he renounced his German citizenship and later, in 1901, was accepted as a Swiss citizen. He obtained his doctorate in 1905 and wrote four articles that lay the foundation for modern physics.

The first article he wrote is remembered as his study of Brownian motion. It established evidence for the existince of atoms. Before this, atoms were recognized as a possibility, although most scientists debated to wether they were real or not. Einstein's statistical analysis of atomic behavior gave scientists a way to count atoms by looking through a regular microscope. Wilhelm Ostwald, one of the top scientists who did not believe in atoms, later said that he had been convinced to believe in atoms by Einstein's explanation of Brownian motion.

The second paper in 1905 proposed the idea of photons and showed how they could be used to explain the photoelectric effect. Albert Einstein's theory of photons received almost no support from other physicists for nearly 20 years. It went against the popular theory of the time, which was the wave theory of light that underlay James Clerk Maxwell's equations for electromagnetic behavior. Even after experiments demonstrated that Einstein's theory for the photoelectric effect were accurate, his explanation was not accepted. In 1922, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize, and his work on photoelectricity was mentioned by name, most physicists thought that it may be possible, and Einstein may be correct.

Now a world-famous scientist, Einstein became closer with the League of Nations. He was friendly with liberal and social democratic politicians, including the Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. Yet this happy period soon came to and end, as Einstein’s life became increasingly shaped by the rise of anti-semitism. In 1920, Paul Wegland established an anti-Einstein organisation in Germany, and attempts were planned to assassinate Einstein. A number of scientists questioned relativity, not because they actually did not believe in Einstein's theories, but becasue he was a Jew.

Not surprisingly, Einstein sided with those that opposed anti-semitism. He tended to drift to the left when it came to politics. He supported plans to create a homeland where Jews would be liberated from persecution. Einstein’s argument was simple, no one should be compelled to live in a place where they would experience persecution. It was an idea that he would express in exile from Germany after 1933: “As long as I have any choice, I will only stay in a country where political liberty, tolerance and equality of all the citizens before the law prevail”.

Although he was natrually a Zionist, Einstein was still aware that there were two peoples living in Palestine. As early as the 1930s, Einstein had a letter published in the paper Falastin: “One who, like myself, has cherished for many years the conviction that the humanity of the future must be built on an intimate community of the nations, and that aggressive nationalism must be conquered, can see a future for Palestine only on the basis of peaceful co-operation between the two peoples who are at home in the country”. More conventional Zionists tended to play down the problems of Jewish immigration, and Einstein regularly accused them of wishful thinking. All of this got in the way of Einstein's work. He became more and more invoolved in world and political issues and less and less involved in Scientific experiments. Although he still had his theories.

Albert Einstein died in a Princeton Hospital of an abdominal aortic aneurysm in 1955. This man contributed an incredible amount to the scientific world. From the existence of atoms to the theory of realativity, he has been one of the most intelligent and influencial people to live in the past 200 years. According to Einsteins theory of relativity, space is not three dimensional and time is neither a separate entity from space, nor is it fixed. According to Einstein both Space and Time are intimately connected and form a four dimensional continuum of 'space-time'. Before all of this, most people still believed Newtonian Physics. Also, there is no such thing as a universal flow of time meaning time is neither linear nor absolute. Space and Time are relative to the observer and as such two observers will experience events in a different sequence or 'time' if they move with different velocities relative to the observed event. Albert Einstein's theories have had a huge impact on todays world and without him, who knows if anyone else would have come up with such ideas in our life time.