Considered the greatest physicist since the days of Isaac Newton and the stereotypical appearance of a scientist, Albert Einstein is the first person that comes to mind when talking about science.
Originally from Germany and raised in a Jewish family, his early childhood was that of a boy who didn’t seem as smart as he would end up being. However, his genius was so great that it laid the foundations of what we now call modern physics.
Today we will see what was the life of this scientist through a biography of Albert Einsteinseeing how he became so famous and why he is so important to physicists today.
Brief biography of Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German physicist of Jewish origin who is, probably the most important scientist of modern times. While Isaac Newton is credited with laying the foundations of classical physics, it was Einstein who laid the starting point for modern physics with his famous theory of relativity.
Einstein’s science wasn’t exactly easy to understand. Even the most expert physicists of his day had difficulty understanding some of Einstein’s postulates, which were sometimes considered unintelligible. However, both in the life of the physicist and after his death, many of the most surprising and incomprehensible aspects of relativity will end up being confirmed, demonstrating his great genius and making Albert Einstein one of the most famous and most admired in history.
In fact, it is so admired today that it transcends physics books. He is still a mythical figure of our time, printed on posters and T-shirts with his particular gesture of mockery, sticking his tongue out irreverently. There are many people who have a picture of Albert Einstein in their bedroom, as if he were a famous actor or singer. He is known to many as the “father of the atomic bomb”, despite his pacifist and anti-war stance. most of his life.
Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1879. He was the eldest son of Hermann Einstein and Pauline Koch, both Ashkenazi Jews from Swabia. The year Albert was born, his family moved to Munich, where his father set up as an electricity merchant with his brother Jakob.
Despite his family’s faith, little Einstein went to a Catholic primary school in Munich, where some of his teachers saw him as a slow, even unintelligent boy. Albert Einstein is described as a calm and self-centered child. Many say he had a slow intellectual development and even was a poor student as a child.
In 1881, his sister Maya was born. In 1894, the Einstein family had to move to Milan, Italy due to financial problems, but Albert continued to live in Munich to complete high school. He will meet his parents the following year.
In the fall of 1896, he began his higher education at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich. The he had the opportunity to be a disciple of the mathematician Hermann Minkowski. He would graduate as a high school math and physics teacher. As soon as he finished his studies, he served for a time at the Confederate Intellectual Property Office in Bern (1902-1909).
In 1903 he married Mileva Marić, a Serbian mathematician who had been his former classmate at the Zurich Polytechnic. With Mileva he had a daughter out of wedlock in January 1902, named Lieserl.
It is not known exactly what happened to the girl, although it is assumed that due to the couple’s financial problems, she was given up for adoption in Serbia shortly after the wedding. They later had two more children who remained: Hans Albert (1904) and Eduard (1910).
The couple moved to Berlin in 1914, but spent the next few years apart. Finally, in 1919, Albert and Mileva divorced. This break was taken advantage of by Einstein, who He remarried, this time to his cousin Elsa Einstein. He had no children with her.
Lay the foundations of relativity
The year 1905 was Albert Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis when he published five works in the Annalen der Physik, a prestigious German physics magazine. The first, “A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions”, earned him a doctorate from the University of Zurich, and the rest would eventually make a 360 degree turn in science’s picture of the universe.
Of these four, the first provided a theoretical explanation in statistical terms of Brownian motionthe second gave an interpretation of the photoelectric effect based on the assumption that light is made up of individual elements, now called photons.
The two remaining books are no less important, as they laid the foundations of the special theory of relativity. It is in these works that he presented his well-known formula: E = mc², being that the Energy (E) is equivalent to a certain quantity of matter and its mass (m) by the speed of light (c) , which is assumed to be constant. .
Einstein’s great genius and efforts made him one of the most important German and European physicists.. However, worldwide public recognition came when his theories won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for his work on Brownian motion and his interpretation of the photoelectric effect.
In 1909, he began his career as a professor at the University of Zurich, then moved to Prague and returned to Zurich in 1912, this time as a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where he studied. Ultimately, in 1913 he was appointed director of the Kaiser William Institute of Physics in Berlinnm
First World War.
In 1914 he moved to Berlin to become a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. He had to be separated from his family with the outbreak of the First World War., while on vacation in Switzerland. He never met her again. At the time, Albert Einstein was strongly opposed to the war, unlike the Berlin academic community. His attitudes are influenced by the pacifist doctrines of the French writer Romain Rolland.
Between 1914 and 1916, his scientific activity focused on perfecting the theory of general relativity. It was based on the idea that gravity is not a force but a field created by the presence of mass on the space-time continuum.
At the end of the Great War, the confirmation of his predictions of celestial bodies was confirmed by the photograph of the solar eclipse of May 29, 1919. The Times presented Albert Einstein as the new Isaac Newton, which increased his international fame to unexpected levels. This forces him to multiply awareness conferences around the world, always traveling by third class train and with his inseparable violin case.
In recent years: in search of a unifying theory
In the 1920s, Albert Einstein focused on finding a mathematical relationship between electromagnetism and gravitational attraction.
He worked so hard to advance what he believed to be the ultimate goal of physics: to discover the common laws that should govern the behavior of all objects in the universe, from subatomic particles to galaxies and other stellar bodies. . He wanted to consolidate them into one unified field theory, but that didn’t work and ended up embarrassing him, gradually isolating himself from the rest of the scientific community.
With the rise to power of Adolf Hitler in 1933, Albert Einstein’s loneliness was exacerbated by the need to renounce German citizenship and move to the United States.
He would spend the rest of his life there, working at the Institute for Higher Studies in Princeton, New Jersey. In this same town He died on April 18, 1955, at the age of 76.due to internal bleeding caused by the rupture of a abdominal aortic aneurysm.
It is said that just before he died, he spoke his last words in German. Unfortunately, the nurse He did not speak this language at the Princeton hospital, so what he said was lost in time.
The development of the atomic bomb and the pacifist cause
During the last years of his life, the bitterness of not finding the formula revealing the secret of the unity of the world increased when he had to intervene dramatically in matters of defence. In 1939, at the request of physicists Leo Szilard and Eugène Paul Wigner, and convinced that the Nazis were about to manufacture the atomic bomb, Einstein addresses President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking him to start an atomic energy research program.
The atomic development of the United States led to the end of World War II, but at a very high human cost. With the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Albert Einstein joined other scientists seeking ways to prevent the use of atomic bombs again and proposed the formation of a world government from the Nations Newly founded United. He also became an international disarmament activist and contributed to the Zionist cause.
- Friend, Martin. (2005). Einstein’s monsters. Minotaur Editions. Barcelona, Spain. ISBN 84-450-7089-4.
- Clark, Ronald W., Einstein: Life and Times, 1971, ISBN 0-380-44123-3.
- Isaacson, Walter (2008). Einstein. Your life and your universe. Debate. ISBN 978-84-8306-788-8.