Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 30, 2011

Albert Einstein

June 30, 1905: “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” is put forth by Albert Einstein. The paper would be published on September 26. This was his third paper published in 1905 and reconciled Maxwell’s equations for electricity and magnetism with the laws of mechanics. It introduced major changes to mechanics close to the speed of light and became known as the special theory of relativity. His next paper, received on September 27 and published on November 21, was the paper where E=mc2 was first written. This is probably the most recognized formula in physics.

Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1879. At the time of his birth, Ulm was in the Kingdom of Württemberg, part of the German Empire. The family moved to Munich where Einstein senior opened a company manufacturing electronic equipment. Although Jewish, Albert started his schooling at a Catholic elementary school where he excelled. His education continued through a variety of schools. He was ever curious and although the family moved around frequently, he continued to seek out learning opportunities.

Einstein hoped to teach after graduation and spent years seeking out a position. He worked in the Bern, Switzerland patent office where he was passed over for promotion until he “fully mastered machine technology.” On April 30, 1905 he completed his thesis dissertation entitle “A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions” and was granted a PhD by the University of Zurich. In that same year, he published four groundbreaking papers as listed above. He was on his way.

He traveled abroad, lecturing around the globe. In 1921 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics. He was visiting in the US when Hitler came to power and opted to stay in the States. He became a citizen in 1940 and began his teaching career at Princeton. He was a pacifist who became involved in the Manhattan Project. He was also a civil rights proponent. He pursued many topics from zero-point energy to wormholes; from unified field theory to wave-particle duality. He went to the hospital on April 17, 1955 with a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. The defect had been repaired once seven years earlier. Einstein refused further surgery and died the next day. He was 76 years old.

“We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”

“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”

“A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be. Information is not knowledge.”

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” – all from Albert Einstein

Also on this day:
What Was That? – In 1908, the Tunguska event occurs.
Tight Rope – In 1859, Charles Blondin crossed the Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

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