Difference between revisions of "Albert Einstein"

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Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society said: 'From the most esoteric aspects of time dilation through to the beautiful and simple equation, E=mc², the vast bulk of Einstein's ideas about the universe are standing up to the test of time,'
 
Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society said: 'From the most esoteric aspects of time dilation through to the beautiful and simple equation, E=mc², the vast bulk of Einstein's ideas about the universe are standing up to the test of time,'
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===E=mc<sup>2</sup>===
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Einstein’s famous formula E=mc<sup>2</sup> says that mass and energy can turn into each other. E stands for [[energy]], m is [[mass]], and c is the [[speed of light]]. So, if you increase the energy of a substance, for example by heating it, it gains a minute amount of mass. If you split an atom apart, as in a nuclear explosion, it loses a tiny amount of mass and you gain a huge amount of [[energy]]. 
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This revealed a new source of power. Energy binds together the parts of an [[atom]], including the [[nucleus]]. The nucleus of an atom is tiny, but Einstein’s work showed that very little mass could release a huge amount of energy. When one nucleus splits apart, it splits other nuclei around it. This is called a [[chain reaction]].
  
 
===Cosmological Constant===
 
===Cosmological Constant===

Revision as of 13:05, 5 May 2007

600px-Albert Einstein Head.jpg

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was a theoretical physicist. He was born in Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany in a Jewish familiy. During his stay at the Swiss Patent Office Einstein produced much of his remarkable work. In 1905 he obtained his doctor's degree. He won the Nobel Prize for his work on the Photoelectric Effect in 1921. [1] Einstein immigrated to the United States in the late 1930s to take the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton; upon the urging of a colleague in physics, recommended that President Franklin D. Roosevelt develop an atomic bomb project. [2] He later regretted this and became a passionate pacifist. In 1952, he was offered the Presidency of Israel, but he turned it down. Einstein collaborated with Dr. Chaim Weizmann in establishing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955 at Princeton, New Jersey at the age of 76.

Works

Einstein contributed to the theory of a Special Relativity and the theory of General Relativity. He also contributed to the study of Photoelectric Effect, Brownian Motion and Bose-Einstein Statistics. He was critical of quantum mechanics and has proposed the EPR-Paradox in attempt to point out spooky aspects of the theory. The last fifteen years of his life were spent in unsuccessfully searching for a Unified Field Theory. Einstein's best-known scientific work is his 1905 papers on Special Relativity. The theory of relativity had already been published by Hendrik Lorentz and Henri Poincaré. Einstein's contribution was to give a description of the Lorentz-Poincare theory without reference to the luminiferous aether, and to clarify some of the physical consequences of the theory.

Einstein then wrote a series of papers applying relativity to gravity using the mathematics of Riemannian Geometry, resulting in General Relativity. Much of the actual mathematics of general relativity was worked out by Marcel Grossman, David Hilbert, and others. Einstein's main contribution was to give an alternate derivation of the field equations, and to apply them to explain an anomaly in the advance of the perihelion in Mercury's orbit. Arthur Eddington popularized General Relativity by publishing an explanation of it and by attempting to prove the theory experimentally in a dramatic test. Eddington embarked on a highly publicized trip into the Atlantic Ocean off Africa in order to observe the bending of starlight passing nearby the Sun during the total solar eclipse of May 29, 1919. Eddington returned with a declaration that he had proven Einstein's theory of General Relativity, making Einstein extremely famous, when in fact he had selectively used data to attain this result. No Nobel Prize was given for relativity.

In April 2007, NASA reported early results from their satellite Gravity Probe B, confirming 'to a precision of better than 1 per cent' Einstein's assertion that large objects such as the Earth distort the fabric of space and time.[3] The Gravity Probe B project, a joint mission between Nasa and Stanford University, used the most precise gyroscopes ever manufactured to detect minute distortions in the fabric of the universe.

Einstein compared the effects of large objects on space and time to the way that a large ball placed on a sheet of rubber stretches the material and causes it to sag, and drew the analogy with the way stars and planets warp space-time. A smaller ball rolling along the sagging fabric will be drawn towards the larger ball, in the same way that the Earth is drawn towards the sun, but will not fall into it as long as it continues to move at sufficient speed. This was a change in thinking from the Newtonian cosmos, in which gravity was viewed purely as an attractive force between bodies.

Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society said: 'From the most esoteric aspects of time dilation through to the beautiful and simple equation, E=mc², the vast bulk of Einstein's ideas about the universe are standing up to the test of time,'

E=mc2

Einstein’s famous formula E=mc2 says that mass and energy can turn into each other. E stands for energy, m is mass, and c is the speed of light. So, if you increase the energy of a substance, for example by heating it, it gains a minute amount of mass. If you split an atom apart, as in a nuclear explosion, it loses a tiny amount of mass and you gain a huge amount of energy.

This revealed a new source of power. Energy binds together the parts of an atom, including the nucleus. The nucleus of an atom is tiny, but Einstein’s work showed that very little mass could release a huge amount of energy. When one nucleus splits apart, it splits other nuclei around it. This is called a chain reaction.

Cosmological Constant

Einstein revised his work on General Relativity to include a 'fudge-factor' which he termed the Cosmological Constant. He was trying to account for the apparent steady-state nature of the universe.

Edwin Hubble, in whose name NASA's famous Hubble Space Telescope is named, later convinced him otherwise. At one point he had Einstein actually making direct observations alongside him, and Hubble's findings showed conclusively that the universe was indeed expanding, as predicted by certain solutions of GR's field equations in the absence of a cosmological constant. Einstein recanted his original philosophy, and accepted as true the notion of a changing universe having a definite beginning.

He later said of his Cosmological Constant, "It was the biggest blunder of my life."

An interesting end-note on this term: Principle investigators from Princeton University first published findings in 1998 apparently revealing an accelerating expansion for the universe[4]. Because this initially seemed like it might be a sort of 'anti-gravity' effect (similar in concept to Einstein's original notion), it briefly became quite popular for scientists to dub the phenomenon the 'Cosmological Constant' as well. For more information, see: Dark Energy.

Writings

  • Special Theory of Relativity (1905)
  • Relativity (English translations, 1920 and 1950)
  • General Theory of Relativity (1916)
  • Investigations on Theory of Brownian Movement (1926)
  • The Evolution of Physics (1938)
  • About Zionism (1930)
  • Why War? (1933),
  • My Philosophy (1934)
  • (The World As I See It) (1934)
  • Out of My Later Years (1950)

...the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.

Honors

Einstein received honorary doctorate degrees in science, medicine and philosophy from many American and European universities.

He won the Nobel Prize in 1921.

He gained the Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London in 1925 and the Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1935.

Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952 [5] but respectfully declined because he believed his life-long scientific attitude of objectivity made him an inappropriate candidate for such a high political position, he was also strongly opposed to nationalism.

In 1999, he was named "Person of the Century" by "Time" magazine.

Einstein and the A-bomb

In 1939 research done by several leading scientists including Enrico Fermi regarding chain reactions of nuclear fission prompted Leo Szilard to persuade Einstein to write a letter to President [6], with the support of his colleagues, to warn the President about the possibility of nuclear weapons and that Nazi Germany had already taken an interest in this technology.

Einstein himself has never been involved in the Manhattan project led by Fermi and he condemned the use of nuclear weapons.

Germany was never able to develop nuclear weapons, partly because it rejected "Jewish science" which included the work of Einstein, as a consequence German physicists had to reinvent nuclear physics.[Citation Needed]

Controversy Surrounding His Death

Dr. Thomas Stoltz Harvey, then a pathologist, performed the autopsy on Einstein several hours after his death. Upon completion, Dr. Harvey removed the brain and possibly his eyes [7]. There is controversy about whether or not Harve had consent from the Einstein family to remove the brain and keep it.

The brain was photographed and sliced into 240 pieces in order to be preserved and further studied. Harvey hoped some uniqueness would be discovered that distinguished Einstein's brain as "genius".

Although he sent pieces away for further study, the bulk of the brain remains with Harvey in "two large glass cookie jars full of what look(s) to be very chunky chicken soup in golden broth" [8]

Religion

There is some controversy surrounding the religion of Albert Einstein. Some of his statements, such as "God does not play dice" and "God is subtle but he is not malicious"[9] have convinced many that he believes in a personal God. However, many atheists point out that Einstein also said:

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."[10]

He also denied being an atheist. [11]

References

  1. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1921/
  2. [1]
  3. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2057529,00.html
  4. http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_mm.html
  5. [[2]]
  6. Roosevelt [3]
  7. NPR, [4]
  8. 4
  9. 5
  10. 6
  11. http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1607298,00.html
  • "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1921"[5]
  • "On The Electrodynamics Of Moving Bodies"[6]
  • "Does The Inertia Of A Body Depend Upon Its Energy-Content?"[http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/E_mc2/e_mc2.pdf
  • Michael Paterniti, Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America With Einstein's Brain
  • "Collected Quotes from Albert Einstein" [7]
  • "Confusion regarding Einstein's Religion"[8]