Happy Birthday Albert Einstein!
Philosophical Library would like to wish a happy birthday to world-renowned theoretical physicist Albert Einstein! He was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany.
In 1895, at the age of 16, Einstein sat in the entrance examinations for the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zürich. He failed to reach the required standard in the general part of the examination, but obtained exceptional grades in physics and mathematics. On the advice of the principal of the Polytechnic, he attended the Argovian cantonal school (gymnasium) in Aarau, Switzerland from 1895 to 1896 to complete his secondary schooling. While lodging with the family of Professor Jost Winteler, he fell in love with Winteler’s daughter, Marie. In January 1896, with his father’s approval, Einstein renounced his citizenship in the German Kingdom of Württemberg to avoid military service. In September 1896, he passed the Swiss Matura with mostly good grades, including a top grade of 6 in physics and mathematical subjects. Though only 17, he enrolled in the four-year mathematics and physics teaching diploma program at the Zürich Polytechnic.
“When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and graviton have no separate existence from matter.”
Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on general relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the large-scale structure of the universe.
“When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity”
On February 11, 2016 a team of scientists announced that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
That faint rising tone, physicists say, is the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago. (Listen to it here.) It completes his vision of a universe in which space and time are interwoven and dynamic, able to stretch, shrink and jiggle. And it is a ringing confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape, which were the most foreboding (and unwelcome) part of his theory.
“In order to succeed your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
Einstein was also known for is commentary on civil rights, humanism, and his support of socialism. You can read more about his views in the book Essays in Humanism. Within its pages, Einstein shares his views on a rapidly changing world, Nuclear proliferation, Zionism, and the global economy; though, these are just a few of the insightful and surprisingly prescient topics the scientist discussed in this volume of collected essays that span the years of 1931 through 1950. Whether you are a well-read Einstein enthusiast or are just beginning, Albert Einstein’s Essays in Humanism is sure to make an invaluable addition to your collection.