Albert Einstein


Albert Einstein Essay, Research Paper

Alfred Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1879. You might ask yourself, what would it be like to be born a genius? If you were anything like Albert Einstein you were a very quiet, secretive child who had trouble in school and against authority. And most of all, you would not be a child prodigy as some people might think. Some believed Albert Einstein was “backward”(Current Biography, 257) when he was young, because he could not speak fluently when he was nine. But even as young as five, he was already wondering about the compass which his father gave him, and how the instrument worked.

Einstein?s father had his own electrical company which went through a lot of trouble during Albert?s childhood. Because of the financial troubles, the Einstein family moved to Milan, except for Albert, who was to stay in Munich where he went to school. There are several different stories about how Albert got out of school. Some say he lied and got released, some say he quit, and still others say he got kicked out because of behavior problems. But Albert never was one for school so he went to Italy about six months after his family had left. By now, Albert is fifteen and has already taught himself integral calculus. He enjoys the freedom of Italy, but he has to find himself a job because of his family?s lack of money. Albert decided to take an entrance examination for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and try to find a job following his father?s footsteps. He could have done this but Albert Einstein failed his test. Einstein?s knowledge of non-mathematical material was less than his knowledge of math. But nothing could beat Einstein, so he took the test again a year later and passed.

In 1902, Einstein worked at a patent office in Bern. This is where he did much of his research and studies that later produced the Relativity Theory. He also married his first wife here, which he had two sons with. Einstein also wrote many of his papers here and he completed his requirements for his doctoral degree, all in an environment that had nothing to do with physics or science.

For Albert Einstein, 1905 was a very busy year, during which he wrote three papers. The first of which, he examined the phenomenon that “electromagnetic energy seemed to be emitted from radiating objects in discrete quantities”( einstein.html). Max Planck?s quantum hypothesis was used by Einstein to describe the electromagnetic radiation of light.

The second paper which Einstein wrote was the special theory of relativity. Einstein based his theory on two postulates. The first was the relativity principle in which experiments are completely unaffected by a laboratory?s constant motion. The second postulate Einstein used was that the speed of light always measured 300,00km per second no matter what the velocity of the observer is. This constancy of the speed of light seemed absurd, but is was proven correct in 1887 by Michelson and Morley. From these postulates he concluded that there is not absolute time or space as Newton proposed. Because of the fact that there is no absolute time, Einstein suggested a time-dilation effect. If you suppose that there are two twins, one travelling around the speed of light which goes off and returns to Earth, and one staying on Earth, you would find that the on who left would come back younger than his twin. The one travelling at the speed of light would be watching time tick by slowly, minute by minute, while the time on Earth would be going faster compared to his time. Therefore, the one on Earth would age faster than the one who left because of the time-dilation effect.

The third paper Einstein wrote was concerned with statistical mechanics. In 1915, Einstein then wrote the general theory of relativity by expanding the first. In the general theory, gravity is not a force but acts as an empty space between bodies. Einstein thought of this when he heard a worker who had fallen of a roof into straw had not felt the tug of gravity as he fell. He also argued that all mass is equivalent to energy which is shown in his formula E=mc2.

Einstein went on to teach at several universities and give lectures after his papers were published. He was offered jobs at countless universities that would not hire him when he had applied before his work was published. In 1921, Einstein received the Noble Prize for his photoelectric study in 1905. But one of the major events in Einstein?s life was when he signed a letter to President Roosevelt. Alfred Einstein was afraid that Germany would take the information of the atom bomb and use it against America. Since Einstein was a Jew and had lived in Germany, he had a right to fear what they would do. He then went and “gave his very influential support”(Meadows, 243) to the president to follow through with the project. Albert Einstein called that his only mistake in his life.

Albert Einstein hated the military and any kind of war. His hate for authority was one of the reasons he did poorly in school. He asked Sigmund Freud in a letter if “it would be possible to influence the development of humans in a way which could make them more resistant to what Einstein call the psychoses of hate and destruction”( why_war.html). Einstein never got a chance to think about this problem fully before his death, because if he had thought about it long enough, he might have found a solution to war. It would have taken a while for everyone to catch on and believe in it though.

In 1940, Albert became an American citizen, and retained the Swiss citizenship he earned in 1901. He had long ago shed his citizenship to Germany. Albert did not want Germany and Germany did not want his “Jewish physics.”

Sadly, Einstein became ill around 1949 and knew he would die soon. He made out his will and left all of scientific papers to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Albert Einstein passed away on April 18, 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey. He took with him to the grave a variety of accomplishments. Jerusalem had asked him to become their president (which he refused without offence intended), and several countries had given him awards for his studies. But the biggest achievement he accomplished was his influence on history.

Albert Einstein changed the way physicists thought then, and his work is in everything they do now. Besides his famous formula and the atom bomb, Einstein used his knowledge on lasers we us today, cameras, and also astrological information. His work has been called “the greatest single stride science has ever made”(Current Biography, 257) and his face has been on stamps, t-shirts, and even Israeli banknotes. Einstein has made such an impact on history; people consider him one of the only geniuses, and he was as normal as anybody you night meet on the street.

Albert kept to himself mainly. He liked solitude and time to play his violin. He liked Mozart, sailing, Shakespeare, and any regular games of cards. Einstein like the simple life and he tried to keep it as simple as possible by not wearing socks. He lived in a small house with his second wife and never considered himself famous. Albert lived to serve other people and that was what he was happy doing. He contributed to several charities, and raised money for the was effort. Einstein was as normal as they come, he just had a spark of imagination that did not let him quit thinking.

A world without Albert Einstein would have been awful. The world would be very behind in technological advances, mathematics, physics, and even astronomy. There would not be any new true theorems in science until someone made the discovery Einstein did and threw out some of Newton?s early theories. This would take much longer for anyone else to do, because not many scientists had the nerve to contradict anything written by Newton. Geometry would be somewhat behind also. The atomic warfare is the only thing the world would not need for a while which Einstein helped discover. But if it was not for Einstein the people of the world would not be so advanced in warfare today.

Einstein was truly a brilliant man who could have been anybody who had a curiosity for knowledge. Einstein never let himself quit, because there was always something he could be thinking about. After he solved one problem he would go on to a more difficult one. Many people did not think Einstein?s theories were correct, but he never let it get to him. His job was to better everyone?s mind and he was wonderful at it. Albert Einstein said is best when he said, ” ?The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible? “(


Annotated Bibliography

Secondary Sources-

“Albert Einstein.” Current Biography. 1941 ed.

In this source was information about Einstein?s daily life. There was also information about his childhood which was used in the research.

“Albert Einstein.” Http://, 1994.

This source had information about Einstein?s theories. It also had information about his family life.

“Albert Einstein.” Http://, 1997.

There was information about Einstein?s death on this web site which was information that was difficult to find anywhere else. The author had information about his papers in a more organized fashion than other sources. This is also where many of the pictures were found that were used.

Bernstein, Jeremy. Albert Einstein: And the Frontiers of Physics. New York: Oxford,1996.

A source with a lot information about Einstein was very useful for research. It contained almost all the information one could need.

Brush, Stephen G. The History if Modern Science. Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1988.

In this book was a scientific explanation of Einstein?s theories, and a description of his experiments.

Davies, P. C. W., and J. R. Brown. The Ghost in the Atom. New York: Cambridge University

Press, 1986.

This source had information about quantum physics and Einstein?s progression in this field.

“Einstein.” Encarta. 1997 ed.

Here is another source with information about Einstein?s early life. There was a lot of repeating information which was also in other sources.

Kondo, Herbert. Adventures in Space and Time. New York: Holiday House, 1966.

A secondary source which had more information about Einstein?s theories and his involvement in cosmology.

Meadows, Jack. The Great Scientists. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

There was information in this book about Einstein?s projects and the colleagues he worked with.

Motz, Lloyd, and Jefferson Hane Weaver. The Story of Physics. New York: Plenum Press, 1989.

These authors put together all of the physicists in the history of science. The main one mentioned was Einstein, but the information was either too broad or too complicated to fully understand.

Newman, James R. The World of Mathematics. Volume 1. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956.

Information about Einstein?s work with math and geometry was found in this book. Also, his theories were mentioned because of their mathematical background.

Pauli, W. Theory of Relativity. New York: Dover Publications, 1958.

This source explains Einstein?s theory, but was a poor substitution for the primary source. It does, however, offer some explanations and opinions that help the reader understand the science of the theory.

Schwartz, Joseph, and Michael McGuinness. Einstein for Beginners. New York: Pantheon Books, 1979.

A source full of pictures was much like a comic book. It was very easy to read but still had all the important information about Einstein. It also went so far as to give a timeline of the events going on while Einstein was undergoing certain research.

Schwinger, Julian. Einstein?s Legacy. New York: Scientific American Library , 1986.

This book had beautiful pictures and huge amounts of information, but it was not all on Einstein. It skipped around and often talked about things bizarrely relating to Einstein which did not need to be known.

Stuewer, Rodger H. “Einstein.” McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Biography. 1973 ed.

Most of the information found here could be found in any encyclopedia, but this one included interesting facts about his personal opinions that were not anywhere else.

Swisher, Clarice. Relativity. California: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1990.

Here is another source which explained relativity in it?s own terms so it was better understood. This was not very useful because the information in here was the same as other sources. There was not any new information provided that was good.

Tauber, Gerald E. Relativity: from Einstein to Black Holes. New York: Venture, 1988.

There were many topics that mentioned in this book that were interesting. The information about Einstein was very detailed and useful.

Will, Clifford M. Was Einstein Right? New York: Basic Books, 1986.

A source that puts together all of the doubts scientists have had about Einstein. It was informative because it describes experiments conducted to try to disprove Einstein.

Whitaker, Andrew. Einstein, Bohr and the Quantum Dilemma. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Einstein changed the way we looked at the atom. This source compares Einstein?s thoughts of the atom with Bohr?s.

“Why War?” Http://, 1999.

Einstein wrote Sigmund Freud about the causes and solutions of war. On this site is a summary of the letter which describes Einstein?s feelings of war and politics.

Workings of the Universe. Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1991.

This book talks about Einstein?s experiments with light and electromagnetism.

“Words of Wisdom from Albert Einstein.” Http://, 1996.

Here is a list of categories of quotes. There are many which repeat but a majority of them were useful.

Primary Sources-

Einstein, Albert. Relativity. New York: Crown Publishers, MCMLXI.

This primary source was very good because is was a way into Einstein?s thoughts through his writing. The only downfall is that it had to be translated from German and therefore, something could have been lost or left out in the language conversion.

Einstein, Albert. The Meaning of Relativity. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1922.

Also a primary source, this book had a lot of information which was useful. There was several things which were repeated though.

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