Albert Einstein (Albert Einstein)
Albert Einstein (Albert Einstein)
German-American theoretical physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics (1921); agnostic
Albert Einstein - Biography
Albert Einstein - (1879-1955), theoretical physicist, creator of the theory of relativity, author of fundamental works on quantum theory and statistical physics, one of the founders of modern physics, foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1922) and foreign honorary member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1926) .
Born in Germany, from 1893 he lived in Switzerland, from 1914 in Germany, in 1933 he emigrated to the United States. Created a private (1905) and general (1907-16) theory of relativity. The author of the fundamental works on the quantum theory of light: introduced the concept of a photon (1905), established the laws of the photoelectric effect, the basic law of photochemistry (Einstein's law), predicted (1917) induced radiation. Albert Einstein developed the statistical theory of Brownian motion, laying the foundations of the theory of fluctuations, created the Bose - Einstein quantum statistics. From 1933 he worked on the problems of cosmology and the unified field theory. In the 30s, he opposed fascism, war, in the 40s - against the use of nuclear weapons. In 1940, he signed a letter to the President of the United States about the danger of creating nuclear weapons in Germany, which stimulated American nuclear research. One of the initiators of the creation of the state of Israel. Nobel Prize (1921, for works on theoretical physics, especially for the discovery of the laws of the photoelectric effect).
Einstein's childhood and primary education
Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in the old German city of Ulm, in Germany, but a year later the family moved to Munich, where Albert's father, Hermann Einstein, and Uncle Jacob organized a small company, J. Einstein and Co. Electrical Factory. At first, the business of the company engaged in the improvement of arc lighting devices, electrical measuring equipment and DC generators, went quite successfully. But in the 90s of the 19th century, in connection with the expansion of the construction of large power plants and long-distance power lines, a number of powerful electrical engineering firms emerged. Hoping to save the company, the Einstein brothers in 1894 moved to Milan, but after two years, unable to withstand the competition, the company ceased to exist.
Uncle Jacob spent a lot of time on his little nephew. “I remember, for example, that the Pythagorean theorem was shown to me by my uncle even before the sacred book on geometry came into my hands,” Einstein recalled in 1945, referring to a Euclidean geometry textbook. Often, the uncle asked the boy math problems, and he "experienced true happiness when coping with them."
Parents gave Albert first to a Catholic primary school, and then to Luitpold’s Munich classical gymnasium, known as a progressive and very liberal educational institution, but which he never graduated from after moving his family to Milan. And in school and in gymnasium Albert Einstein gained not the best reputation. Reading popular science books gave rise to the young Einstein, in his own words, "downright fantastic free-thinking." In his memoirs, theoretical physicist Max Born wrote: “Already in the early years, Einstein showed an indomitable will to independence. He hated the game of soldiers, because it meant violence. ” Later, A. Einstein said that for people who enjoy marching to the sounds of the march, the brain was in vain, they could be content with one spinal one.
First year in Switzerland
In October 1895, sixteen-year-old Albert Einstein went from Milan to Zurich on foot to enroll in the Federal Higher Technical School - the famous Polytechnic school, which did not require a high school diploma to enter. Brilliantly having passed the entrance exams in mathematics, physics and chemistry, he, however, failed miserably in other subjects. The rector of the Polytechnic School, assessing Einstein's exceptional mathematical abilities, sent him to prepare for the cantonal school in Aarau (20 miles west of Zurich), which at that time was considered one of the best in Switzerland. The year spent in this school, which was led by a serious scientist and an excellent teacher A. Tauchschmid, turned out to be very useful, and - in contrast to the barracks situation in Prussia - pleasant.
Study in Polytechnic
Albert Einstein passed the final examinations in Aarau quite successfully (except for the French exam), which gave him the right to enroll at the Polytechnic in Zurich. The chair of physics there was headed by Professor V. G. Weber, an excellent lecturer and a talented experimenter who was mainly engaged in electrical engineering. At first, he accepted Einstein very well, but later the relationship between them became so complicated that after graduation, Einstein could not get a job for some time. To some extent this was due to purely scientific reasons. Distinguished by conservatism of views on electromagnetic phenomena, Weber did not accept Maxwell's theory, ideas about the field, and adhered to the concept of long-range action. His students learned the past of physics, but not its present and, all the more, the future. Einstein, however, studied the works of Maxwell, was convinced of the existence of an all-pervading ether and thought about how various fields (in particular, magnetic) act on him and how one can experimentally detect motion relative to the ether. At that time he did not know about the experiments of the American physicist Albert Michelson and independently of him proposed his interference technique.
But the experiments invented by Albert Einstein, who worked with passion in a physical workshop, had no chance to materialize. Teachers disliked the obstinate student. “You are a clever fellow, Einstein, a very clever fellow, but you have a big disadvantage - you do not tolerate comments,” Weber told him somehow, and this determined a lot.
Patent Office. A. Einstein's first steps towards recognition
After graduating from the Polytechnic in 1900, the young graduate teacher of physics (Einstein was then twenty-two years old) lived mostly with his parents in Milan and for two years he could not find a permanent job. Only in 1902, he finally received, on the recommendation of friends, the place of an expert in the Federal Patent Office in Bern. Shortly before, Albert changed his citizenship and became a Swiss citizen. A few months after finding a job, he married his former Zurich classmate Mileva Maric, a native of Serbia, who was four years older than him. In the Patent Office, which Einstein called the “secular monastery,” he worked for more than seven years, considering these years as the happiest in life. The position of "patent service" constantly occupied his mind with various scientific and technical issues, but left enough time for independent creative work. Its results by the middle of the “happy Bern years” were the content of scientific articles that changed the face of modern physics, brought Einstein world-wide fame.
The first of these articles, “On the motion of particles suspended in a fluid at rest, resulting from the molecular-kinetic theory,” published in 1905, was devoted to the theory of Brownian motion. This phenomenon (continuous random zigzag movement of pollen particles in a liquid), discovered in 1827 by the English botanist Robert Brown, had already received a statistical explanation, but Einstein’s theory (who did not know previous works on Brownian motion) had a complete form and opened up possibilities for quantitative experimental studies . In 1908, the experiments of the French physicist Jean-Baptiste Perrin fully confirmed Einstein's theory, which played an important role in the final development of molecular kinetic concepts.
Quanta and photo effect
In the same year, 1905, another work by Einstein came out - “On a heuristic point of view on the origin and transformation of light”. Five years earlier, the German physicist Max Planck showed that the spectral composition of the radiation emitted by hot bodies is explained if it is assumed that the radiation process is discrete, that is, light is not emitted continuously, but in discrete portions of a certain energy. Einstein put forward the assumption that the absorption of light occurs in the same portions and that, in general, “homogeneous light consists of grains of energy (light quanta) ... that are carried in empty space at the speed of light”. This revolutionary idea allowed Einstein to explain the laws of the photoelectric effect, in particular, the fact of the existence of a “red border”, that is, the minimum frequency below which light does not knock electrons out of matter at all.
The idea of quanta was applied by Albert Einstein to the explanation of other phenomena, for example, fluorescence, photoionization, mysterious variations in the specific heat of solids, which the classical theory could not describe.
Einstein's work on the quantum theory of light was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921.
Private (special) theory of relativity
Nevertheless, the theory of relativity, which he first outlined in 1905, was most famous for A. Einstein in the article On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies. Already in his youth, Einstein was trying to understand what the observer would have seen if he had rushed after the speed of light after the light wave. Now Einstein decisively rejected the concept of ether, which made it possible to consider the principle of equality of all inertial reference systems as universal, and not just limited to the framework of mechanics.
Einstein put forward an amazing and at first glance paradoxical postulate that the speed of light for all observers, no matter how they move, is the same. This postulate (under certain additional conditions) leads to the formulas obtained earlier by Hendrik Lorentz for transformations of coordinates and time when moving from one inertial reference system to another, moving relative to the first. But Lorenz considered these transformations as auxiliary, or fictitious, not directly related to real space and time. Einstein understood the reality of these transformations, in particular, the reality of the relativity of simultaneity.
Thus, the principle of relativity established for mechanics by the Italian scientist and physicist Galileo was extended to electrodynamics and other areas of physics. This led, in particular, to the establishment of an important universal relationship between the mass M, the energy E and the momentum P: E 2 = M 2 c 4 + P 2 c 2 (where c is the speed of light), which can be called one of the theoretical prerequisites for using intranuclear energy.
Professorship. Invitation to Berlin. General theory of relativity
In 1905, Albert Einstein was 26 years old, but his name has already gained wide popularity. In 1909 he was elected a professor at the University of Zurich, and two years later - the German University in Prague.
In 1912, Einstein returned to Zurich, where he occupied the department at the Polytechnic, but in 1914 he accepted an invitation to move to Berlin as a professor at Berlin University and at the same time director of the Institute of Physics. Einstein's German citizenship was restored. By this time, work on the general theory of relativity was in full swing. As a result of the joint efforts of Einstein and his former student comrade M. Grossman in 1912, an article entitled “A Sketch of the Generalized Theory of Relativity” appeared, and the final formulation of the theory dates back to 1915. This theory, according to many scientists, was the most significant and most beautiful theoretical structure in the history of physics. Based on the well-known fact that the “heavy” and “inert” masses are equal, we managed to find a fundamentally new approach to solving the problem posed by the English physicist Isaac Newton: what is the mechanism for transmitting the gravitational interaction between the bodies and what is the carrier of this interaction?
The answer proposed by Einstein was overwhelmingly unexpected: the “geometry” of space-time itself acted as such an intermediary. Any massive body, according to Einstein, causes around itself a "curvature" of space, that is, makes its geometric properties different than in Euclidean geometry, and any other body moving in such a "curved" space is affected by the first body.
The general theory of relativity led to the prediction of effects, which soon received experimental confirmation. It also made it possible to formulate fundamentally new models relating to the entire Universe, including the model of a nonstationary (expanding) Universe.
Albert Einstein did not hesitate to accept the offer to move to Berlin. But the opportunity to communicate with the largest German scientists, among whom was Planck, attracted him.
The political and moral atmosphere in Germany became more and more painful, anti-Semitism raised its head, and when the Nazis seized power, Einstein in 1933 left Germany forever. Subsequently, in protest against fascism, he refused German citizenship and left the Prussian and Bavarian Academies of Sciences.
In the Berlin period, in addition to the general theory of relativity, Einstein developed the statistics of particles of the whole spin, introduced the concept of stimulated radiation, which plays an important role in laser physics, predicted (together with de Haas) the phenomenon of rotational momentum of bodies when they are magnetized, etc. one of the creators of quantum theory, Einstein did not accept the probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics, believing that a fundamental physical theory cannot be statistical in nature. He often repeated that "God does not play dice" with the universe.
After moving to the United States, Albert Einstein was appointed Professor of Physics at the new Institute for Basic Research in Princeton, New Jersey. He continued to deal with issues of cosmology, and he also intensely sought ways to build a unified field theory that would combine gravity, electromagnetism (and perhaps the rest). And although he failed to implement this program, it did not shake Einstein’s reputation as one of the greatest natural scientists of all time.
At Princeton, Einstein became a local landmark. He was known as a world-famous physicist, but for all he was a modest, affable and somewhat eccentric person who could be encountered right on the street. In the hours of leisure, he loved to play music. Starting to learn to play the violin at the age of six, Einstein continued to play all his life, sometimes in an ensemble with other physicists. He liked sailing, which he believed was unusually conducive to thinking about physical problems.
Among the numerous honors accorded to Einstein was the proposal to become the President of Israel, which followed in 1952, which he did not accept.
Being a consistent supporter of Zionism, Albert Einstein put a lot of effort into the creation of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1925.
In many people's minds, the name of Einstein is associated with an atomic problem. Indeed, realizing what a tragedy for humanity could be the creation of an atomic bomb in Nazi Germany, in 1939 he sent a letter to the US President, which served as an impetus for work in this direction in America. But at the end of the war, his desperate attempts to keep politicians and generals from criminal and insane actions proved futile. This was the biggest tragedy of his life.
Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955 in Princeton, USA, from an aortic aneurysm. (V.N. Grigoriev, Cyril and Methodius Encyclopedia)
One clever professor once at a university asked a student an interesting question.
Professor: God is good?
Professor: And the devil is good?
Prof: Right. Tell me, son, does evil exist on earth?
Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God created everything, right?
Professor: So who created evil?
Professor: On the planet there is deformity, arrogance, disease, ignorance?
All this is, right?
Student: Yes, sir.
Professor: So who created them?
Professor: Science claims that a person has 5 senses to explore the world around. Tell me, son, have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.
Professor: Tell us, did you hear God?
Student: No, sir.
Professor: Have you ever felt God? Tried it to taste? Smelled it?
Student: I'm afraid not, sir.
Professor: And you still believe in him?
Professor: Based on the findings, science can argue that there is no God. Can you oppose something to this?
Student: No, professor. I have only faith.
Professor: Exactly. Faith is the main problem of science.
Student: Professor, does cold exist?
Professor: What is the question? Of course it does. Have you ever been cold?
(Students laughed at the question of the young man)
Student: Actually, sir, there is no cold. In accordance with the laws of physics, what we consider to be cold is actually the absence of heat. A person or object can be studied on whether it has or transmits energy. Absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius) is the complete absence of heat. All matter becomes inert and unable to react at this temperature. There is no cold. We created this word to describe what we feel in the absence of heat.
(There is silence in the audience)
Student: Professor, does darkness exist?
Professor: Of course it does. What is night, if not darkness:
Student: You are wrong again, sir. Darkness also does not exist. Darkness is really the absence of light. We can explore light, but not darkness. We can use Newton's prism to spread white light into many colors and study different wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into the world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you find out how dark any space is? You measure how much light is presented. Is not it? Darkness is a concept that a person uses to describe what happens in the absence of light. Now tell me, sir, does death exist?
Professor: Of course. There is life, and there is death - its opposite side.
Student: You're wrong again, professor. Death is not the other side of life, it is its absence. There is a serious crack in your scientific theory.
Professor: What do you lead, young man?
Student: Professor, you teach students that we are all descended from monkeys. Have you observed evolution with your own eyes?
The professor shook his head with a smile, realizing what was going on.
Student: No one has seen this process, which means you are more a priest than a scientist.
(Audience burst out laughing)
Student: Now tell me, is there anyone in this class who has seen the professor's brain? Did you hear him, sniff him, touch him?
(Students continued to laugh)
Student: Apparently, no one. Then, based on scientific facts, we can conclude that the professor does not have a brain. With all due respect to you, professor, how can we trust what you said in lectures?
(There is silence in the audience)
Professor: I think you just have to believe me.
Student: Exactly! There is one connection between God and man - it is FAITH!
The professor sat down.
This student was named Albert Einstein.
Why did Einstein show his tongue?
The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the planet perceive Albert Einstein as a "mad scientist." This image was formed in the heads of millions of people solely due to the extraordinary appearance of the great scientist, and not his mental state.
An eminent physicist, who devoted himself entirely to science, often appeared before the public in an ordinary stretched sweater, with disheveled hair, and a gaze turned inward — the mind of a scientist was constantly engaged in solving complex problems. Also widely known were the forgetfulness and impracticality of this sweet, intelligent man, making discoveries not for personal gain, but for the sake of all mankind.
Only once in his entire long life did Albert Einstein lift the veil of secrecy over his personality, evoking even greater interest in his persona. It happened on the day of its seventy-second anniversary, March 14, 1952.
The photographer Seyss asked Einstein to make a thoughtful face corresponding to the image of the researcher, to which the scientist stuck out his tongue, showing himself not only a serious inventor, but also an ordinary cheerful person. So this photo came out, a snapshot that dispelled the image of a gray-haired, slightly disheveled genius scientist.
The very same brilliant physicist recognized this photo as unprecedentedly successful - by that time he was tired of the undeserved stereotypical image of the “evil genius”.
The photo, which in a short time went around the whole world, was cropped - there was still the family couple, Eidelot. Subsequently, Albert Einstein sent it to friends as a New Year greeting card. Albert's friend, journalist H. Smit, got a unique photo - it had a signature made by the hand of the genius of physics, “a joking grimace to all mankind”.
A total of nine original photographs were printed, and one of them sold $ 74,000 in 2009.