Physicists Biographies

Albert Einstein Biography

Albert Einstein

Relativity: Einstein’s theory of relativity revolutionized scientific thinking, with its new conceptions of time, space, mass, motion and gravitation. He conceived of matter and energy as equivalent and not distinct. In asserting this, he laid the foundation for controlling the release of energy contained in the atom.

Thus, Einstein was one of the creators of the atomic age. His famous equation E = mc², where c is the speed of light, became the cornerstone of the development of atomic energy. In elaborating his theory, he relied on deep philosophical thinking and complex mathematical reasoning. short biography of albert einstein

short biography of albert einstein

Albert, son of Hermann Einstein and Paulina Koch Einstein, was born on March 14, 1879, in the city of Ulm, Württemberg, Germany. When he was five years old, his father showed him a pocket compass. The boy was deeply impressed by the mysterious behavior of the magnetic needle that kept facing the same direction no matter how much you rotated the compass. Later, they say, he explained that he felt that “behind things, something must have been hidden.” short biography of albert einstein

After completing his course at the public schools in Munich (Germany) and Aarau (Switzerland), Einstein studied mathematics and physics at the Swiss Polytechnic Institute in the city of Zurich. In 1900, he finished his course, going to work as an expert at the Berne Patent Office, a position in which he remained from 1902 until 1909. Working in that department left him a lot of free time, time which he spent on scientific experimentation. In 1905, he acquired Swiss citizenship.

During this year, Einstein made three of his greatest contributions to scientific knowledge. The year 1905 marked an epoch in the history of physical science, as it was then that he wrote three works, published in a German scientific journal, entitled Annalen der Physik (Annals of Physics), each of which became the basis of a new branch of physics.

In one of these works, Einstein suggested that light could be conceived as a stream made up of tiny particles, which he named quanta. This idea became an important part of quantum theory. Before Einstein, scientists had already discovered that a bright light beam, falling on a metal, caused it to emit electrons, which could then be transformed into an electrical current. But scientists could not explain the phenomenon, which they had called the photoelectric effect. Einstein, however, explained this effect based on his quantum theory. He showed that when quanta of light energy hit atoms of a metal, they force it to release electrons. short biography of albert einstein

Einstein’s work helped prove the quantum theory. At the same time, it gave the photoelectric effect an explanation impossible to conceive, as long as scientists continued to claim that light propagated exclusively through waves. The photoelectric cell or electronic eye that is a result of Einstein’s work made sound cinema, television and many other inventions possible. For his work on quanta, Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.

In a second paper, entitled The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, Einstein presented the theory of special relativity. Because of this theory, which shows the relativity of time – an idea never conceived before – Einstein’s name became widely known. In 1944, a copy of Einstein’s famous manuscript on electrodynamics served as the basis for an investment of 6.5 million dollars in war bonds at an auction held in Kansas City, USA. Congress in Washington. In another study, published in 1905, Einstein demonstrated the equivalence between mass and energy, expressed in his famous equation E = mc².

Einstein’s third important work, in 1905, concerned Brownian motion, a zigzag motion of microscopic particles suspended in a liquid or gas. This movement confirmed the atomic theory of matter.

Einstein presented these works before assuming an academic post. But in 1909 he was appointed professor of theoretical physics at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. In 1911 and 1912, he held an equivalent post at the German University in Prague, in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1912, he took on a similar role at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. short biography of albert einstein

In 1913, Einstein was elected a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences, based in Berlin. A year later, on accepting the post of professor of physics at the University of Berlin, he regained German citizenship. In the same year, he was appointed director of the Kaiser Guilherme Institute of Physics, also in the German capital, positions he held until 1933.

In 1915, Einstein announced that he had developed the theory of general relativity, based on his theory of special relativity. In his generalized theory, he tried to express all the laws of physics through covariant equations, that is, equations that have the same mathematical form, regardless of the frame of reference to which they are applied. The general theory, announced in 1915, was made public in 1916. short biography of albert einstein

The Unitary Field Theory. Einstein was not entirely satisfied with the theory of general relativity, as it did not include electromagnetism. Toward the end of the 1920s, he tried to incorporate both electromagnetic and gravitational phenomena into a single theory, a theory called the unitary field theory. But he failed to form a unitary theory of the field, even though he spent 25 years of his life trying to elaborate it. Feeling the end of his life approaching, Einstein pointed out the advisability of making it clear that such a theory did not exist. He was worried about the idea that, having neither developed a theory nor shown the impossibility of its existence, perhaps no one ever did.

Einstein married twice. He separated from his first wife shortly after his arrival in Berlin. During World War I, he married his cousin-sister, Elsa, who died at Princeton in 1936 after faithfully sharing her life with him. From her first marriage, she had two children; with the second, he gained two stepdaughters.

shoes of albert einsteinEinstein was, by nature, deeply religious. However, he never joined any orthodox religion. While finding belief in a personal god too specific a concept to be applicable to Being at work in this world, Einstein never admitted to a universe characterized by chance and chaos. In the universe, he thought, absolute law and order should reign. He once said, “God may be very sophisticated, but he is not malicious.” short biography of albert einstein

Einstein was named the greatest personality of the 20th century by Time magazine.

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