Modern Physics

Why is Albert Einstein famous?

Why is Albert Einstein famous?

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist whose work is considered the foundation for modern physics. He is widely regarded as one of the most intelligent people in history, and he even won a Nobel Prize for his work.

This article recounts the biography of Albert Einstein and discusses his many scientific achievements.

The main achievements that made Albert Einstein famous are:

  1. Theory of special relativity: this theory posits that the only constant in the Universe is the speed of light. Absolutely everything else varies, which means that it is relative. According to him, space and time were interwoven into a single continuum known as space-time.

  2. The photoelectric effect: Einstein carried out work in which he demonstrated the existence of photons.

  3. Equation E=m·c²: energy equals mass multiplied by the square of light’s speed. This formula relates energy with mass which is crucial for nuclear power.

  4. Theory of general relativity: he took what Isaac Newton had discovered about gravity, but the world knew what made gravity exist for the first time in history.

  5. Unified field theory: as its name suggests, it "unifies" different fields. Specifically, Einstein looked for a way to relate electromagnetic and gravitational fields.

  6. Study of gravitational waves: he revealed that "gravity" was a set of waves propagated by the action of massive bodies and transmitted through space at great speed.

  7. Movement of the Universe: Einstein proposed the idea that the Universe had to be moving, either contracting or expanding. It implied that the Universe had to have a "birth," something that had not been proposed to date, about 14.5 billion years ago. He also theorized about black holes.

  8. Brownian Motion: Albert Einstein showed that the random motion of pollen particles in water or other liquids was due to constant collisions with many water molecules. This explanation confirmed the existence of atoms, which until then was only a hypothesis.

  9. Quantum theory: This theory posits the existence of particles called "quanta," which are the smallest entities in the Universe. It is the minimum level of structure of matter since they are the particles that make up the elements of atoms.

  10. He triggered the investigation to develop the first nuclear bomb.

Biography of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was a German physicist born in Ulm on March 14, 1879, and died in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 18, 1955. He was the eldest son of Hermann Einstein and Pauline Koch, both Jews. A year after his birth, the Einstein family moved to Munich.

Einstein is one of the most representative figures of the scientific process of the 20th century, and his personality has gone beyond the merely scientific sphere to become a symbol.

In 1900, Einstein obtained Swiss citizenship and, in 1940, an American passport.

The year 1905 was considered the miracle year of Einstein. He published in Annalen der Physik four articles that contributed significantly to establishing the foundations of modern physics, changing the scientific perception of space, time, mass, and energy.

Education of Albert Einstein

Einstein was educated in Munich and Switzerland, receiving his doctorate in 1905 in Zurich. He studied music, being a notable violin player.

In 1909 he found a place in teaching at the University of Zurich. During 1902-09 Albert Einstein was employed by a patent office in Bern.

In 1911 he went to the University of Prague, in 1912 to the Zurich Polytechnic, and in 1913 to the University of Berlin.

And after graduating, Einstein couldn’t find a job until he moved to Bern. There he worked as a clerk in the Swiss patent office.

Einstein headed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics and was a Prussian Academy of Sciences member.

Einstein's Outstanding Works

Einstein's first published works date from 1905 (as Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Korps; 'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies').

Four of these early works were devoted to the mathematical analysis of Brownian motion, to the photoelectric effect, to the establishment of mass-energy equivalence, and to expounding the foundations of the special (or restricted) theory of relativity.

Over the decade 1910-20, Albert Einstein worked to generalize his relativistic theory from the startup.

In 1916, Einstein published the famous theory of relativity (Die Grundlagen der Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie; 'the foundations of the general theory of relativity'). This publication resulted from his efforts to include a gravitational field theory.

The theory of relativity is one of the most important contributions of Albert Einstein. According to this theory, the measurement of length and time is relative. It means that two observers can measure different things, but there is no way to determine which is the "true" measurement.

Nobel Prize

Albert Einstein only won a Nobel Prize for Physics in the year 1921.

The Nobel Prize was awarded to him for his work on the photoelectric effect and his numerous contributions to theoretical physics.

Exile due to World War II

In 1933, due to his Jewish status, he had to go into exile from Germany and settled in Princeton, where he lived until his death.

At Princeton, he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, working on the theory of general relativity, on the unified field theory. The unified field theory encompasses electromagnetic and gravitational phenomena and critical discussions about quantum theory.

As a Jew, Albert Einstein, although he was not an Israeli citizen, was offered to become the president of Israel in 1952. However, he refused the proposal “with sadness and ashamed.”

What is Albert Einstein's relationship with nuclear energy?

During World War II, Einstein was aware of the energy that the chain reactions of nuclear fission could generate. For this reason, in 1939, he warned President Roosevelt, in a famous letter, of the danger that Germany would anticipate atomic research in the US. As a result of this letter, Roosevelt promoted the creation of the Manhattan project.

In this letter, Einstein recommended to the American president that the United States pay attention and dedicate themselves to their research on nuclear weapons.

Why is Albert Einstein famous?

As a result of the letter and certain meetings with Roosevelt, the United States entered the "race" to develop the nuclear bomb by starting the Manhattan Project.

Einstein had contempt for violence and wars, and his goal was to prevent making the atomic bomb. Instead, he favored the start of the manufacture of the nuclear bomb by the allies.

In the middle of World War II, Robert Oppenheimer led the nuclear weapons development program known as the Manhattan Project. For this reason, he is known as the father of the atomic bomb.

Publication Date: December 15, 2014
Last Revision: September 6, 2023