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By N. Mukunda Centre for High Energy Physics Indian Institute of Science Einstein’s Life and Legacy


He was a good man. You need only to look at a photograph of him with his large, luminous eyes and humble expression to perceive the tremendous passion that made this man great, as well as the human kindness that made this man good. But upon close examination of Albert Einstein, you will also find things that might surprise you: a sense of humor, an understanding of human flaws, a stubborn unselfconsciousness, an irreverence toward authority. Needless to say, this guy was one of a kind. Source http://library.thinkquest.org/17508/TXHisLegacy.html


The Einstein Archives contain about 43,000 Documents, 'Collected Papers of Albert Einstein' have only come upto 1917 with Volume 8 in English translation; another 32 volumes remain to be produced. Einstein’s Life and Legacy 1


Some Important Dates in Einstein’s Life 14 March 1879 Born in Ulm, Württemberg, Germany, to Pauline Koch and Hermann Einstein. 1886-1895 Catholic primary School, then Luitpold Gymnasium, Munich. 1895 Year spent in Pavia, Italy. 1895-1896 Cantonal School, Aarau, Switzerland; gives up German citizenship. 1896-1900 Student at ETH, Zurich for Diploma to teach in high school. 2


1901 Gets Swiss Citizenship. 1902-1909 Temporary Technical expert 3rd class in Bern Patent office, permanent in 1904, 2nd class in 1906. 1903 Marries Mileva Maric. 1905 Annus Mirabilis; Ph.D from University of Zurich. 1909-1911 Enters academia, Associate Professor at University of Zurich. 3


1911-1912 Professor, University of Prague. 1912-1914 Professor, ETH, Zurich. 1914-1932 Professor, University of Berlin, no teaching duties, under Prussian Academy of Sciences. Director, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Berlin. 1919 Divorces Mileva, marries cousin Elsa Einstein Lowenthal. 4


First trip to USA, Nobel Prize in Physics. 1933 Resigns from Prussian Academy, leaves Europe for USA. 1933-1955 Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Becomes US citizen (remains Swiss Citizen). 18 April 1955 Dies at Princeton at 76. 5


The three seminal papers published by Einstein in his ' miraculous year' in Annalen der physik are, in chronological order: (i) On a heuristic point of view concerning the production and transformation of light, Vol. 17, pp. 132-148. Received March 18, 1905 (ii) On the motion required by the molecular kinetic theory of heat of particles suspended in fluids at rest, Vol. 17, pp. 549-560. Received May 11, 1905. (iii) On the electrodynamics of moving bodies, Vol. 17, pp. 891-921. Received June 30, 1905. The relation E = mc2 appeared for the first time in (iv) Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content?, Vol. 18, pp. 639-641 Received Sept. 27, 1905. 6


'... I promise you four papers in return, the first of which I might send you soon, since I will soon get the complimentary reprints. '... monochromatic radiation of low density (within the range of validity of Wien’s radiation formula) behaves thermodynamically as if it consisted of mutually independent energy quanta of magnitude hn.' 1907 review '... electromagnetic forces appear here not as states of some substance, but rather as independently existing things that are similar to ponderable matter and share with it the feature of inertia'. The paper deals with radiation and the energy properties of light and is very revolutionary, as you will see ...'. letter to Konrad Habicht on May 18th or 25th, 1905: 7


Einstein’s Work on the Quantum Theory. 1907 Application of quantum theory to the specific heat problem. 1909 Energy fluctuations of Planck radiation – wave and particle contributions – first recognition of wave particle duality for light. 1916 New derivation of Planck’s Law using Bohr’s idea of stationary states of atoms, spontaneous and stimulated emission and absorption of radiation by matter. 8


1924 Theory of the ideal quantum (Bose) gas, number or density fluctuations, wave particle duality for matter, prediction of Bose–Einstein condensation. 1927-1930 Debates with Bohr – attempts to show inconsistency of quantum mechanics. 1935 Einstein – Podolsky – Rosen paper claiming incompleteness of quantum mechanics. Einstein’s Work on the Quantum Theory. 9


Planck said in 1909: 'I believe one should first try to move the whole difficulty of the quantum theory to the domain of the interaction between matter and radiation'. recommendation of Einstein for membership in the Prussian Academy in 1913, Planck and others wrote: 'That he may sometimes have missed the target in his speculations, as, for example, in his hypothesis of light quanta, cannot really be held too much against him, for it is not possible to introduce really new ideas even in the most exact sciences without sometimes taking a risk'. 10


in 1905 he referred to light quanta as 'mutually independent' and that light energy '... consists of a finite number of energy quanta that are localized in points in space, move without dividing, and can be absorbed or generated only as a whole', in 1909 he referred to them as 'independently moving point like quanta with energy hv.' 11


letters to his friend Michele Besso: 'With that, (the existence of) light quanta is practically certain', and 'I do not doubt anymore the reality of radiation quanta, although I still stand quite alone in this conviction'. letter to Besso as late as December 1951: 'All the fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no closer to the answer to the question, ‘What are light quanta?’ Of course today every rascal thinks he knows the answer, but he is deluding himself'. 12


When Heisenberg told Einstein that in setting up matrix mechanics he had taken inspiration from Special Relativity and its emphasis on observables, Einstein replied: '... on principle, it is quite wrong to try founding a theory on observable magnitudes alone.... It is the theory which decides what we can observe'. de Broglie’s thesis of matter waves – 'has lifted a corner of the great veil' 13


The Road from Special to General Relativity First statement of Equivalence Principle for constant gravitational fields; gravity bends light rays; gravitational redshift. 1911-1912 Speed of light varies in gravitational fields; attempt to use local light speed as scalar gravitational field. 1912 Analysis of rotating coordinate system; recognition of non-Euclidean geometry of space-time with gravitation present; metric tensor as gravitational field. 14


The Road from Special to General Relativity 1913-1915 Rejection of general covariance based on meta-argument: metric 'should be' uniquely determined by sources and boundary conditions. 1915 Return to general covariance earlier given up 'only with a heavy heart'; the final field equations of general relativity. 15


Einstein himself said: 'Compared with this problem, the original relativity is child’s play'. '... The postulate of relativity in its most general formulation... makes the spacetime coordinates into physically meaningless parameters'. '... Why were a further seven years required for setting up the general theory of relativity? The principal reason is that one does not free oneself so easily from the conception that an immediate physical significance must be attributed to the coordinates'. post card to Arnold Sommerfeld in February 1916: 'You will be convinced of the general theory of relativity when you have studied it. That is why I am not mentioning a word in its defense'. 16


'The years of searching in the dark for a truth that one feels but cannot express, the intense desire and the alternations of confidence and misgiving until one breaks through to clarity and understanding are known only to him who has himself experienced them.' 1933 lecture in Glasgow: 'Every physical theory compatible with special relativity can be aligned into the system of general relativity by means of the absolute differential calculus, without (general relativity) supplying any criterion for the acceptability of that theory'. 'The principle of relativity is a principle that narrows the possibilities; it is not a model, just as the second law of thermodynamics is not a model'. 17


'a weakness of the theory ... that it leaves time and direction of elementary processes to chance; nevertheless I have full confidence in the reliability of the way entered upon'. 'The properties of elementary processes ... make it seem almost inevitable to formulate a truly quantized theory of radiation'. the Maxwell field had to be quantized: 'It is my opinion that the next phase in the development of theoretical physics will bring us a theory of light that can be interpreted as a kind of fusion of the wave and the emission theory'. in 1909 he grasped wave particle duality for light: So far ahead 18


Language, God, Music ... 'Enough of this. Newton, forgive me; you found the only way which, in your age, was just about possible for a man of highest thought and creative power. The concepts, which you created, are even today still guiding our thinking in physics, although we now know that they will have to be replaced by others farther removed from the sphere of immediate experience, if we aim at a profounder understanding of relationships'. About Lorentz, 'He meant more to me personally than anybody else I have met in my life time'. after his first meeting with Niels Bohr in 1920, 'Not often in life has a human being caused me such joy by his mere presence as you did'. 19


Hermann Minkowski on Special Relativity in 1908: ‘Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality’. Hermann Weyl on General Relativity in 1918: ‘Einstein’s Theory of Relativity has advanced our ideas of the structure of the cosmos a step further. It is as if a wall which separated us from Truth has collapsed.’ Paul Dirac in 1979: ‘The Einstein theory of gravitation has a character of excellence of its own. Anyone who appreciates the fundamental harmony connecting the way nature runs and general mathematical principles must feel that a theory with the beauty and elegance of Einstein’s theory has to be substantially correct’. 20


'Einstein explained his theory to me every day, and on my arrival I was fully convinced that he understood it'. 'Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not'. 'The theory yields much, but it hardly brings us close to the secrets of the Old One. In any case, I am convinced He does not play dice'. 'Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind'. 21


Victor Weisskopf 'Human existence is based upon two pillars: compassion and knowledge. Compassion without knowledge is ineffective; knowledge without compassion is inhuman'. 'In my opinion there is the correct path and ... it is in our power to find it'. Wolfgang Pauli declared: 'Einstein's life ended .... with a demand on us for synthesis'. 'Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this in flesh and blood walked upon this earth'. 22


  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!   Source http://home.pacbell.net/kidwell5/aebio.html


Albert Einstein lived from 1879 to 1955

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