- NAME: Albert Einstein
- OCCUPATION: Physicist
- BIRTH DATE: March 14, 1879
- DEATH DATE: April 18, 1955
- Did You Know?: Einstein was asked to be the president of Israel, but he declined: After Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first president, died in 1952, the country's prime minister offered the job to Einstein.
- Did You Know?: Einstein died after refusing surgery, saying, "I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly."
- EDUCATION: Luitpold Gymnasium, Eidgenössische Polytechnische Schule (Swiss Federal Polytechnic School)
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Ulm, Württemberg, Germany
- PLACE OF DEATH: Princeton, New Jersey
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Albert Einstein was a German-born physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He is considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century.
Albert Einstein's vision and innovation created a lasting impact on both the world of science and our society. Click "buy Now" to learn more about the authorized Albert Einstein Archives. Video courtesy of Open Road Media.
Albert Einstein's vision and innovation created a lasting impact on both the world of science and our society. Click "Buy Now" to learn more about the authorized Albert Einstein Archives. Video courtesy of Open Road Media.
In 1919, a Solar Eclipse occurred, giving Einstein the ability to prove his Theory of Relativity correct.
The rising threat of the Nazi party forced Einstein to abandon his pacifist principles and write a letter to President Roosevelt that triggered the the Manhattan Project.
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However, this violated Isaac Newton's laws of motion because there is no absolute velocity in Newton's theory. This insight led Einstein to formulate the principle of relativity.
In 1905—often called Einstein's "miracle year"—he submitted a paper for his doctorate and had four papers published in the Annalen der Physik, one of the best known physics journals. The four papers—the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity,
and the equivalence of matter and energy—would alter the course of modern physics and bring him to the attention of the academic world. In his paper on matter and energy, Einstein deduced the well-known equation E=mc2, suggesting that tiny particles of matter could be converted into huge amounts of energy, foreshadowing the development of nuclear power. There have been claims that Einstein and his wife, Maric, collaborated on his celebrated 1905 papers, but historians of physics who have studied the issue find no evidence that she made any substantive contributions. In fact, in the papers, Einstein only credits his conversations with Michele Besso in developing relativity.
At firstm Einstein's 1905 papers were ignored by the physics community. This began to change when he received the attention of Max Planck, perhaps the most influential physicist of his generation and founder of quantum theory. With Planck’s complimentary comments and his experiments that confirmed his theories, Einstein was invited to lecture at international meetings and he rose rapidly in the academic world. He was offered a series of positions at increasingly prestigious institutions, including the University of Zürich, the University of Prague, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and finally the University of Berlin, where he served as director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics from 1913 to 1933.
As his fame spread, Einstein's marriage fell apart. His constant travel and intense study of his work, the arguments about their children and the family’s meager finances led Einstein to the conclusion that his marriage was over. Einstein began an affair with a cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, whom he later married. He finally divorced Mileva in 1919 and as a settlement agreed to give her the money he might receive if he ever won a Nobel Prize.
In November, 1915, Einstein completed the general theory of relativity, which he considered his masterpiece. He was convinced that general relativity was correct because of its mathematical beauty and because it accurately predicted the perihelion of Mercury's orbit around the sun, which fell short in Newton’s theory. General relativity theory also predicted a measurable deflection of light around the sun when a planet or another sun oribited near the sun. That prediction was confirmed in observations by British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington during the solar eclipse of 1919. In 1921, Albert Einstein received word that he had received the Nobel Prize for Physics. Because relativity was still considered controversial, Einstein received the award for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.
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