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Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Альберт Эйнштейн (Albert Einstein)


German-American theoretical physicist, laureate of the Nobel Prize in Physics (1921); agnostic

Альберт Эйнштейн (Albert Einstein)
Альберт Эйнштейн (Albert Einstein)

Albert Einstein - biography

Albert Einstein - (1879-1955), a 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, a foreign corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1922) and a 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. He created a special (1905) and general (1907-16) theories 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, and created the quantum statistics of Bose-Einstein. Since 1933 he worked on problems of cosmology and unified field theory. In the 1930s he opposed fascism, war, and in the 1940s - against the use of nuclear weapons. In 1940 he signed a letter to the US president about the danger of creating a nuclear weapon in Germany, which stimulated American nuclear research. One of the initiators of the state of Israel. The Nobel Prize (1921, for works on theoretical physics, especially for the discovery of the laws of the photoelectric effect).

Childhood and Einstein's Primary Education

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in the ancient 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, the Einstein and Co. Electrotechnical Factory. At first, the business of the company, engaged in the improvement of arc lighting devices, electrical measuring equipment and DC generators, was quite successful. But in the 90s of the 19th century, in connection with the expansion of the construction of large electric power lines and long-distance power lines, a number of powerful electrotechnical firms emerged. Hoping to save the company, the Einsteins brothers moved to Milan in 1894, but two years later, unable to withstand competition, the company ceased to exist.

Uncle Jacob paid a lot of time to his little nephew. "I remember, for example, that Pythagoras' theorem was shown to me by my uncle before a holy book on geometry fell into my hands", so Einstein in memoirs relating to 1945 spoke of a textbook of Euclidean geometry. Often my uncle asked the boy mathematical tasks, and he "felt real happiness when he coped with them."

Parents gave Albert first to a Catholic elementary school, and then to the Munich classical gym of Luitpold, known as a progressive and very liberal school, but which he never graduated after moving to his family in Milan. And in school, and in the gymnasium Albert Einstein acquired not a better reputation. The reading of popular science books gave birth to a young Einstein, in his own words, "a really fantastic free-thinking". In his memoirs, the 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 people who are pleased to march to the sound of the march, the brain went to waste, they could easily be satisfied with one dorsal.

First year in Switzerland

In October 1895, sixteen-year-old Albert Einstein walked from Milan to Zurich to enroll in the Federal Higher Technical School, the famous Polytechnic, for which no certificate of high school was required. Brilliantly passing the entrance examinations in mathematics, physics and chemistry, he, however, failed miserably in other subjects. The rector of the Polytechnic University, appreciating Einstein's outstanding mathematical skills, directed 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 at this school, which was supervised by a serious scientist and fine teacher A. Taukhshmid, proved to be very useful, and - in contrast to the barracks in Prussia - pleasant.

Studying at the Polytechnic University

Final exams in Aarau, Albert Einstein passed quite successfully (except for the exam in French), which gave him the right to enroll in the Polytechnic in Zurich. The Department of Physics was headed by Professor VG Weber, an excellent lecturer and a talented experimenter, who mainly dealt with electrical engineering. At first, he very well accepted Einstein, but in the future the relationship between them complicated so much that after graduation Einstein for a while could not get a job. To some extent, this was due to purely scientific reasons. Differing 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 recognized the past of physics, but not her present and, especially, the future. Einstein also studied the works of Maxwell, was convinced of the existence of a pervasive ether and reflected on how various fields (in particular, magnetic fields) act on him and how to experimentally detect motion relative to the ether. He then did not know about the experiments of the American scientist-physicist Albert Michelson and independently suggested his interference technique.

But the experiments invented by Albert Einstein, who passionately worked in a physical workshop, did not have a chance to materialize. Teachers disliked the obstinate student. "You are a clever fellow, Einstein, a very clever fellow, but you have a big drawback - you do not tolerate any comments," Weber once told him, and this determined a lot.

Bureau of Patents. First steps of A. Einstein to recognition

After graduating from the Polytechnic in 1900, a young graduate physics teacher (Einstein was then twenty-second) lived mostly with his parents in Milan and for two years could not find permanent work. Only in 1902 he finally received, on the recommendation of friends, the place of an expert at the Federal Bureau of Patents in Berne. Shortly before that, Albert changed his citizenship and became a Swiss citizen. A few months after his job, he married his former Zurich classmate Mileva Maric, a native of Serbia, who was four years older than him. At the Patent Office, which Einstein called "secular monastery," he worked for more than seven years, considering these years the happiest in life. The post of "patent service" constantly occupied his mind with various scientific and technical questions, but left enough time for independent creative work. Her results to the middle of the "happy Bernese years" were the content of scientific articles that changed the face of modern physics, brought Einstein world fame.

Brownian motion

The first of these articles, "On the motion of suspended particles in a fluid at rest, derived from the molecular-kinetic theory", published in 1905, was devoted to the theory of Brownian motion. This phenomenon (the continuous chaotic zigzag motion of particles of flower pollen in a liquid), discovered in 1827 by the English botanist Robert Brown, already received a statistical explanation, but Einstein's theory (which did not know the previous works on Brownian motion) had a complete form and opened up the possibilities for quantitative experimental studies . In 1908, the experiments of the French physicist Jean Baptiste Perrin fully confirmed the theory of Einstein, which played an important role in the final development of molecular-kinetic concepts.

Quanta and photoelectric effect

In the same year, 1905, another work by Einstein also appeared: "On one 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 finds an explanation if one accepts that the radiation process is discrete, that is, the light is not emitted continuously but by discrete portions of a certain energy. Einstein suggested that the same absorption of light occurs in the same portions and that in general "homogeneous light consists of grains of energy (light quanta) ... rushing 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 electrons do not knock out electrons from matter at all.

The idea of ​​quanta was applied by Albert Einstein and to the explanation of other phenomena, for example, fluorescence, photoionization, mysterious variations in the specific heat of solids, which classical theory could not describe.

Einstein's works on the quantum theory of light were awarded in 1921 to the Nobel Prize.

Private (special) theory of relativity

The greatest popularity A. Einstein still brought the theory of relativity, set by him for the first time in 1905, in the article "Towards the electrodynamics of moving bodies." Already in his youth, Einstein tried to understand what the observer would see if he rushed at the speed of light after the light wave. Now Einstein resolutely rejected the concept of ether, which allowed to consider the principle of equality of all inertial frames of reference as universal, and not only 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 previously obtained Hendrik Lorentz formulas for the transformation of coordinates and time in the transition from one inertial frame of reference to another, moving relative to the first one. But Lorentz considered these transformations as auxiliary, or fictitious, not having a direct relationship 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 fields of physics. In particular, this led to the establishment of an important universal relation 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 premises 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 become widely known. In 1909 he was elected professor at the University of Zurich, and two years later - at the German University in Prague.

In 1912, Einstein returned to Zurich, where he took the chair at the Polytechnic, but in 1914 he accepted an invitation to move to Berlin as a professor at the University of Berlin and at the same time the director of the Institute of Physics. The German citizenship of Einstein was restored. By that 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 friend M. Grossman in 1912, an article "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 construction 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 transferring the gravitational interaction between the bodies and what is the carrier of this interaction.

The answer proposed by Einstein was stunningly unexpected: in the role of such an intermediary the very "geometry" of space-time appeared. 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 experiences the influence of the first body.

The general theory of relativity led to the prediction of effects, which soon received experimental confirmation. It also allowed to formulate fundamentally new models related to the entire Universe, including the models of the non-stationary (expanding) Universe.


Albert Einstein not without hesitation accepted the offer to move to Berlin. But the opportunity to communicate with the largest German scientists, including Plank, attracted him.

The political and moral atmosphere in Germany was becoming increasingly painful, anti-Semitism was raising its head, and when the fascists seized power, Einstein left Germany for good in 1933. Subsequently, as a sign of protest against fascism, he renounced 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 emission, which plays an important role in laser physics, predicted (together with de Haas) the appearance of the rotational momentum of bodies during their magnetization, etc. However, being One of the founders of quantum theory, Einstein did not accept the probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics, believing that a fundamental physical theory can not be statistical in nature. He often repeated that "God does not play dice" with the universe.

Moving to the United States, Albert Einstein took up the post of professor of physics at the new Institute for Basic Research in Princeton, New Jersey. He continued to deal with cosmology, and was also intensively searching for ways to construct a unified field theory that would unite gravity, electromagnetism (and possibly the rest). Although he could not realize this program, it did not shake Einstein's reputation as one of the greatest natural scientists of all time.

In Prinston, 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 faced right on the street. In leisure time he liked to play music. Beginning to learn to play the violin in six years, Einstein continued to play his whole life, sometimes in an ensemble with other physicists. He liked sailing, which, he believed, was extremely helpful in thinking about physical problems.

Among the many honors given to Einstein was the proposal to become president of Israel, followed in 1952, which he did not accept.

Being a consistent supporter of Zionism, Albert Einstein made a lot of efforts to create the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1925.

In the minds of many people, the name of Einstein is related to the atomic problem. Indeed, realizing what a tragedy for mankind would be the creation of a nuclear bomb in fascist Germany, he sent a letter to the US President in 1939, which served as an impetus for work in this direction in America. But already at the end of the war his desperate attempts to keep politicians and generals from criminal and insane actions proved futile. This was the greatest tragedy of his life.

Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955 in Princeton, USA, from an aneurysm of the aorta. (VN Grigoriev, Encyclopedia Cyril and Methodius)

About faith

One clever professor once at the university asked the student an interesting question.
Professor: Is God good?
Student: Yes.
Professor: Is the Devil good?
The student: No.
Professor: That's right. Tell me, son, is there evil on earth?
Student: Yes.
Professor: Evil is everywhere, is not it? And God created everything, right?
Student: Yes.
Professor: So who created the evil?
Student: ...
Professor: On the planet there is ugliness, arrogance, illness, ignorance?
It's all there, right?
Student: Yes, sir.
Professor: So who created them?
Student: ...
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? Sniffed it?
Student: I'm afraid not, sir.
Professor: And you still believe in him?
Student: Yes.
Professor: Based on the findings, science can claim that there is no God. Can you counter something to this?
Student: No, Professor. I have only faith.
Professor: That's it. Faith is the main problem of science.
Student: Professor, is there a cold?
Professor: What kind of question is that? Of course, there is. Have you never been cold?
(The students laughed at the question of the young man)
Student: Actually, sir, the cold does not exist. In accordance with the laws of physics, what we consider a cold really is a lack of heat. A person or an object can be studied for whether he has or transmits energy. Absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius) is complete absence of heat. All matter becomes inert and unable to react at this temperature. The cold does not exist. We created this word to describe what we feel when there is no heat.
(There was silence in the audience)
Student: Professor, is the darkness there?
Professor: Of course there is. What is night, if not darkness:
Student: You're wrong again, sir. Darkness does not exist either. Darkness is really the absence of light. We can study the light, but not darkness. We can use Newton's prism to decompose the white light into a multitude of colors and study the different wavelengths of each color. You can not measure the darkness. A simple ray of light can break into the world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you tell how dark is any space? You measure how much light is represented. Is not it? Darkness is a concept that a person uses to describe what happens when there is no light. Now tell me, sir, does death exist? "
Professor: Of course. There is life, and there is death - the reverse side of it.
Student: You are again wrong, professor. Death is not the opposite of life, it is its absence. In your scientific theory there is a serious crack.
Professor: What are you leading to, young man?
Student: Professor, you teach students that we all descended from monkeys. Have you watched the evolution with your own eyes?
The professor shook his head with a smile, understanding what the conversation was about.
Student: No one has seen this process, which means that you are more of a priest, not a scientist.
(Audience exploded with laughter)
Student: Now tell me, is there anyone in this class who has seen the professor's brain? Heard him, sniffed him, touched him?
(The students continued to laugh)
Student: Apparently, no one. Then, relying 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 at the lectures?
(There was silence in the audience)
Professor: I think you just need to believe me.
STUDENT: That's it! There is one connection between God and man - this is FAITH!
The professor sat down.
This student was called Albert Einstein.

Why did Einstein show his language?

The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the planet perceive Albert Einstein as a "mad scientist". Such an image has developed in the minds of millions of people solely because of the extraordinary appearance of the great scientist, and not his mental state.

An outstanding physicist who gave himself up to science, often appeared before the public in an ordinary stretched sweater, with disheveled hair, and a look turned inward - the scientist's mind was constantly engaged in solving complex problems. Also widely known were the forgetfulness and impracticality of this cute clever man, making discoveries not for personal gain, but for the sake of all mankind.

Альберт Эйнштейн (Albert Einstein)

Only once in his long life Albert Einstein lifted the veil of secrecy over his personality, provoking even greater interest in his person. This happened on the day of the celebration of his seventy-second anniversary, on March 14, 1952.

Photographer Seyss asked to make Einstein a pensive face, corresponding to the image of the researcher, to which the scientist stuck his tongue, showing himself not only a serious inventor, but also an ordinary cheerful person. So this photo came out, a picture that dispelled the image of a gray, slightly disheveled genius scientist.

The brilliant physicist himself recognized this photograph as an unusually successful one - by that time he was rather tired of the undeserved stereotyped image of the "evil genius".

Альберт Эйнштейн (Albert Einstein)

The photo, which in a short time went around the world, was circumcised - there was still a family couple called Adelot. Subsequently, Albert Einstein sent it to friends as a New Year greeting card. A friend of Albert, journalist H. Smith, got a unique photo - it had a signature made by the hand of the genius of physics, "a playful grimace to the whole of humanity".

In total, nine original photographs were printed, and one of them was sold in 2009 to 74,000 dollars.