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Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was one of the greatest minds in world history. Einstein is known as a brilliant physicist who contributed more to the scientific world than any other person. His theories on relativity paved the way for how science currently views time, space, energy, and gravity. Einstein was so advanced in his thinking that his studies and work set the standards for the control of scientific energy and space explorations currently being studied in the field of astrophysics.

Einstein, like most brilliant minds, was also an eccentric who set himself apart from people and family to research in solitude while being a public figure supporting issues that he believed in. As history would be written, his humanitarian work would also provide the basis to one of the most destructive forces ever known to man, the atomic bomb.

Albert Einstein is also famous for his many quotes. One quote is, "One cannot help but be in awe [one] contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structures of reality." Another quote is "The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our action, Our inner balances and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life."

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany. His parents were Pauline and Hermann Einstein. It is interesting to note that neither of his parents had any knowledge in the areas of math or science. Even Albert, in his early years, was a very shy but curious kid that showed very little aptitude for anything. In elementary school, Albert was such an under achiever in all subjects other than math and science that his parents suspected that he might be retarded. As it turned out, Albert preferred to learn on his own and had taught himself advanced mathematics and science by the time he was a teenager.

Another interesting fact is that between the ages of six to thirteen, he studied the violin. After a failed attempt to skip high school and attend the Swiss Polytechnic University in 1895, Albert went to Aarau, Switzerland to finish high school. He graduated from high school at the age of 17 and enrolled at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich. Albert graduated in 1900 with a degree in physics.

Albert Einstein's most noted contribution to the world is his theory of relativity. By 1902, Einstein was working on combining time and space, matter and energy. In 1905 when he was only 26 years old, he published a paper on relativity. This paper showed mathematically that the speed of light is constant and not relative to its source or to the viewer. Einstein had actually written an essay when he was only 16 years old on relativity, which became the basis for his published paper. The greatest result of relativistic physics was Einstein's famous relation, E=mc2 . In this, he was able to prove that any increase in the energy, E, of a body must lead to a corresponding increase in its mass, m, these increases being related by a factor c2 , where c represents the velocity of light squared.

Albert Einstein published several other papers this same year. They were quantum law and the emission and absorption of light, Brownian motion, the inertia of energy, and the electrodynamics of moving bodies. The research on quantum law and the emission and absorption of light won him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921. Incidentally, he was not present at the award ceremony due to his trip to Japan.

At the time of the publication on the theory of relativity, the people that read the papers met them with skepticism and ridicule. As the other papers were published, they were viewed the same way. Since these papers were so advanced, only a few physicists even understood them, and they slowly started to realize what a true genius Einstein actually was.

In 1914, Einstein found himself in demand all over Europe. He went to Berlin as a professor and latter accepted a prestigious appointment as the head of Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute, special professor at the University of Berlin. There he was a member of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences and had all the research time he wanted.

In 1933 Albert Einstein came to the United States. He had accepted a position with the Advanced study in Princeton, New Jersey. At the University, he was again allowed to follow his own ideas and do research as he sought. At the University, he also aided Jewish scientists and students who were forced to leave Germany.

Possibly, Albert Einstein's most famous writing was a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 2, 1939. In his letter, he warned of the possibility of Germany building an atomic bomb and urged the President to do nuclear research and complete the bomb before the Germans did. Albert wrote the letter as a result of a request from a friend, Leo Szilard. Szilard had become alarmed after the discovery of uranium fission. Szilard also asked Einstein to warn the Belgian Queen Mother. At the time of this request in 1939, most American physicists doubted that atomic energy or atomic bombs were a possibility. Although not a well-known fact, there was two letters written and signed by Einstein to send to President Roosevelt . There was a short version and a long version. Einstein preferred the long version and so that was the one that was finally delivered to the President. The letter did not have much impact and World War II began on September 1, 1939.

It was not until December 6, 1941, that the United States would start a large-scale atomic project. This project would be known as the "Manhatten" Project. Speaking of war, Albert was able to avoid being inducted into the war due to the fact that he had flat feet and bulging veins. A little known third letter was written by Albert to President Rossevelt stating that atomic research should not be used against people. As a further note, Albert was appalled when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Japan.

Albert Einstein's character shows up where, like the famous relation, E=mc2, his imaginative daring came into play. Besides his equation, E=mc2, he immediately went further. Albert was so sure that his equation could not be refuted, he presumed without any further proof that his theory was correct and that mass was a form of energy. It would be many years before this would actually prove to be true. Another side of Albert Einstein shows up with the letter he sent to President Roosevelt. He opposed the use of force and the building weapons, but he could not stand silently by while another country had sole possession of destructive powers.

Albert Einstein, like so many, had a dark side to him also. His first daughter was born a year before he and Mileva were married, and they gave up their baby daughter for adoption shortly after her birth. Albert and Mileva also had two sons that they kept. In 1919, his first marriage to Mileva Maric ended in divorce. The same year, Albert married his cousin Elsa Einstein.

The death of Albert Einstein came on April 18, 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey. After a long illness, he died peacefully in his sleep. The listed cause of death is a ruptured artery in his heart. Upon his request in his will, there was no funeral, no grave, and no marker. His brain was donated to science and his body was cremated and his ashes were spread over a near-by river.

In conclusion, Albert Einstein ranks as one of the greatest people for his contributions towards physics and his part as a philosopher of science and as a humanitarian. And like so many other great people in history, he was criticized and even threatened with death for his beliefs and convictions. Even up to his final days, the genius continued his search for laws that would explain more of the universe. To this day, his ideas and theories are still being followed through on.

As a final insight to the personality and humor this genius possessed, he had been lecturing for over an hour on his theory time. Suddenly he stopped and with a pained look on his face, said, "I fear it is getting late. Does anyone know the time?" This great person was more at home in old clothes which included a sweater and his slippers and his long white hair than in any other way. It was also in the above attire that he often greeted his guests in and served them tea despite their reputation. So normal yet so brilliant!


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