Albert Einstein (Альберт Ейнштейн)


  • 1 Biography
    • 1.1 Youth and college
    • 1.2 Work and doctorate
      • 1.2.1 Annus Mirabilis Papers
    • 1.3 Middle years
      • 1.3.1 General relativity
      • 1.3.2 The "Copenhagen" interpretation
      • 1.3.3 Bose-Einstein statistics
      • 1.3.4 The Einstein refrigerator
      • 1.3.5 World War II
      • 1.3.6 Institute for Advanced Study
      • 1.3.7 Generalized theory
    • 1.4 Final years
  • 2 Personality
    • 2.1 Religious views
    • 2.2 Political views
  • 3 Popularity and cultural impact
    • 3.1 Entertainment
    • 3.2 Licensing
    • 3.3 Honors
  • 4 References
    • 4.1 Works by Albert Einstein
  • 5 External links

Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879–April 18, 1955) was a German-born Jewish theoretical physicist, who is widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century. He proposed the theory of relativity and also made major contributions to the development of quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and cosmology. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 (his "miracle year") and "for his services to Theoretical Physics."

After his general theory of relativity was formulated in November 1915, Einstein became world-famous, an unusual achievement for a scientist. In his later years, his fame exceeded that of any other scientist in history. In popular culture, his name has become synonymous with great intelligence and even genius.

Einstein himself was deeply concerned with the social impact of scientific discoveries. His reverence for all creation, his belief in an "ultimate principle" and the grandeur, beauty, and sublimity of the universe (the primary source of inspiration in science), his awe for the scheme that is manifested in the material universe—all of these show through in his work and philosophy.


Young Einstein before the Einsteins moved from Germany to Italy.


Young Einstein before the Einsteins moved from Germany to Italy.

Youth and college

Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 at Ulm in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about 100 km east of Stuttgart. His parents were Hermann Einstein, a featherbed salesman who later ran an electrochemical works, and Pauline, whose maiden name was Koch. They were married in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt. The family was Jewish (non-observant); Albert attended a Catholic elementary school and, at the insistence of his mother, was given violin lessons.

When Albert was five, his father showed him a pocket compass, and Einstein realized that something in "empty" space acted upon the needle; he would later describe the experience as one of the most revelatory of his life. Though he built models and mechanical devices for fun, he was considered a slow learner, possibly due to dyslexia, simple shyness, or the significantly rare and unusual structure of his brain (examined after his death). He later credited his development of the theory of relativity to this slowness, saying that by pondering space and time later than most children, he was able to apply a more developed intellect. Some researchers have speculated that Einstein may have exhibited some traits of mild forms of autism, although they concede that a reliable posthumous diagnosis is impossible.[1]

Einstein attended the Luitpold Gymnasium where he received a relatively progressive education. He began to learn mathematics around age twelve. There is a recurring rumor that he failed mathematics later in his education, but this is untrue; a change in the way grades were assigned caused confusion years later. Two of his uncles fostered his intellectual interests during his late childhood and early adolescence by suggesting and providing books on science, mathematics and philosophy.

In 1894, following the failure of Hermann's electrochemical business, the Einsteins moved from Munich to Pavia, Italy (near Milan). During this year, Einstein's first scientific work was written (called "The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields"). Albert remained behind in Munich lodgings to finish school, completing only one term before leaving the gymnasium in spring 1895 to rejoin his family in Pavia. He quit without telling his parents and a year and a half prior to final examinations, Einstein convinced the school to let him go with a medical note from a friendly doctor, but this meant he had no secondary-school certificate.[2]

Despite excelling in the mathematics and science portion, his failure of the liberal arts portion of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zurich) entrance exam the following year was a setback; his family sent him to Aarau, Switzerland, to finish secondary school, where he received his diploma in September 1896. During this time he lodged with Professor Jost Winteler's family and became enamoured with Marie, their daughter, his first sweetheart. Albert's sister Maja was to later marry their son Paul, and his friend Michele Besso married their other daughter Anna.[3] Einstein subsequently enrolled at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in October and moved to Zurich, while Marie moved to Olsberg for a teaching post. The same year, he renounced his Württemberg citizenship and became stateless.

In the spring of 1896, the Serbian Mileva Marić started initially as a medical student at the University of Zurich, but after a term switched to the same section as Einstein as the only woman that year to study for the same diploma. Einstein's relationship with Mileva developed into romance over the next few years.

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