Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Born: 1879. Died: 1955.


- Coordinate space and time are not absolute, and the simultaneity of events is observer-dependent, but the speed of light is invariant (the special theory of relativity).

- Mass is a form of energy, interchangeable with other forms according to the relation E = mc2.

- Gravitational force is locally indistinguishable from acceleration of the frame of reference (the equivalence principle).

- Gravitational fields are manifestations of curvature of spacetime, which originates in the stress-energy of the material contained therein (the general theory of relativity).

- Motion of massive bodies will create gravitational waves.

- Light exhibits quantum properties in the photoelectric effect, with photon energy related to frequency by E = hf.

- Atoms can be stimulated by the passage of light to emit more photons of the same energy.

- Observations of diffusion can be used to determine the dimensions of molecules.

- A monatomic gas such as helium should condense at low temperature into a superfluid state.

- Understanding of gravitation, electromagnetism, and other interactions should be sought in unified-field theories.


Albert Einstein was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. Six weeks later the family moved to Munich and he began his schooling there at the Luitpold Gymnasium. Later, they moved to Italy and Albert continued his education at Aarau, Switzerland and in 1896 he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. In 1901, the year he gained his diploma, he acquired Swiss citizenship and, as he was unable to find a teaching post, he accepted a position as technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office. In 1905 he obtained his doctor's degree.

During his stay at the Patent Office, and in his spare time, he produced much of his remarkable work and in 1908 he was appointed Privatdozent in Berne. In 1909 he became Professor Extraordinary at Zurich, in 1911 Professor of Theoretical Physics at Prague, returning to Zurich in the following year to fill a similar post. In 1914 he was appointed Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute and Professor in the University of Berlin. He became a German citizen in 1914 and remained in Berlin until 1933 when he renounced his citizenship for political reasons and emigrated to America to take the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton. He became a United States citizen in 1940 and retired from his post in 1945.

After World War II, Einstein was a leading figure in the World Government Movement, he was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel, which he declined, and he collaborated with Dr. Chaim Weizmann in establishing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Einstein always appeared to have a clear view of the problems of physics and the determination to solve them. He had a strategy of his own and was able to visualize the main stages on the way to his goal. He regarded his major achievements as mere stepping-stones for the next advance.

At the start of his scientific work, Einstein realized the inadequacies of Newtonian mechanics and his special theory of relativity stemmed from an attempt to reconcile the laws of mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. He dealt with classical problems of statistical mechanics and problems in which they were merged with quantum theory: this led to an explanation of the Brownian movement of molecules. He investigated the thermal properties of light with a low radiation density and his observations laid the foundation of the photon theory of light.

In his early days in Berlin, Einstein postulated that the correct interpretation of the special theory of relativity must also furnish a theory of gravitation and in 1916 he published his paper on the general theory of relativity. During this time he also contributed to the problems of the theory of radiation and statistical mechanics.

In the 1920's, Einstein embarked on the construction of unified field theories, although he continued to work on the probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory, and he persevered with this work in America. He contributed to statistical mechanics by his development of the quantum theory of a monatomic gas and he has also accomplished valuable work in connection with atomic transition probabilities and relativistic cosmology.

After his retirement he continued to work towards the unification of the basic concepts of physics, taking the opposite approach, geometrisation, to the majority of physicists.

Albert Einstein received honorary doctorate degrees in science, medicine and philosophy from many European and American universities. During the 1920's he lectured in Europe, America and the Far East and he was awarded Fellowships or Memberships of all the leading scientific academies throughout the world. He gained numerous awards in recognition of his work, including the Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London in 1925, and the Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1935.

Einstein's gifts inevitably resulted in his dwelling much in intellectual solitude and, for relaxation, music played an important part in his life. He married Mileva Maric in 1903 and they had a daughter and two sons; their marriage was dissolved in 1919 and in the same year he married his cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, who died in 1936.

He died on April 18, 1955 at Princeton, New Jersey.

Major Books of Albert Einstein

- About Zionism, 1930
- The Evolution of Physics, 1938
- Ideas and Opinions, 1954
- The Meaning of Relativity‎, 1922
- Relativity: The Special and General Theory, 1920
- The World as I See It, 1934

Major Articles of Albert Einstein

- 1905, On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, Ann. Phys.
- 1905, On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light, Ann. Phys.
- 1905, On the Motion of Particles Suspended in a Liquid, Annalen der Physik
- 1907, Planck's Theory of Radiation and the Theory of Specific Heats, Ann. Phys.
- 1909, The Present State of the Radiation Problem, W Ritz
- 1910, The Principal of Relativity and Its Consequences in Modern Physics, Archives des sciences physques et naturelles
- 1916, The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity, Ann. Phys.
- 1917, On the Quantum Theory of Radiation, Phys. Z
- 1920, Time, Space, and Gravitation, Science
- 1923, Cosmological Considerations on the General Theory of Relativity, The Principle of Relativity
- 1923, Fundamental Ideas and Problems of the Theory of Relativity, Nobel Lectures
- 1925, Quantum Theory of Monatomic Ideal Gases, Sitz Ber Preuss Akad Wiss
- 1935, Can Quantum Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?, with B Podolsky and N Rosen, Physical Review
- 1945, A Generalization of the Relativistic Theory of Gravitation, Ann. Math.
- 1949, Why Socialism?, Monthly Review
- 1951, The Advent of the Quantum Theory, Science

Quotes from Albert Einstein

- "God is subtle, but he is not malicious." (from a visit to Princeton University, NJ, 1921)

- "At any rate, I am convinced that He does not play dice." (from a letter to Max Born, 1926)

- "The cosmic religious experience is the strongest force and the noblest driving force behind scientific research." (from "Religion and Science" published in New York Times Magazine, 1930)

- "I never think of the future. It comes soon enough." (from an interview, 1930)

- "All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual." (from a public statement, 1933)

- "I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause. The example of great and pure characters is the only thing that can produce fine ideas and noble deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and always tempts its owners irresistibly to abuse it.
   Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with the moneybags of Carnegie." (from "The World As I See It", 1934)

- "The state is made for man, not man for the State." (from "The World As I See It", 1934)

- "The eternal mystery of the wolrd is its comprehensibility." (from "Physics and Reality" published in Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1936)

- "Some recent work by E[nrico] Fermi and L[eo] Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of Administration. ...
   It may be possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. ...
   This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable -though much less certain- that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory.." (from a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1939)

- "For the present [atomic energy] is a menace. Perhaps it is as well that it should be. It may intimidate the human race to bring order into its international affairs, which, without the pressure of fear, it undoubtedly would not do." (from "Einstein on the Atomic Bomb" published in Atlantic, 1945)

- "One can organize to apply a discovery already made, but not to make one. Only a free individual can make a discovery. ... Can you imagine an organization of scientist making the discoveries of Charles Darwin?" (from "Einstein on the Atomic Bomb" published in Atlantic, 1945)

- "The use of small quantities [of uranium], suffcient, say, to operate a car or an airplane so far is impossible, and one cannot predict when it will be achieved. No doubt, it will be achieved, but nobody can say when." (from "Einstein on the Atomic Bomb" published in Atlantic, 1945)

- "The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe." (from "The Einstein Letter That Started It All" published in New York Times Magazine, 1946)

- "Science has brought forth this danger, but the real problem is in the minds and hearts of men. We will not change the hearts of other men by mechanisms, but by changing our hearts and speaking bravely. …
   When we are clear in heart and mind - only then shall we find courage to surmount the fear which haunts the world." (from "The Real Problem Is in the Hearts of Men" published in New York Times Magazine, 1946)

- "There is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause." (from "The Negro Question" published in Pageant, 1946)

- "No great discovery was ever made in science except by one who lifted his nose above the grindstone of details and vetured on a more comprehensive vision." (from "The Meaning of Human History", 1947)

- "Any government is in itself an evil insofar as it carries within it the tendency to deteriorate into tyranny." (from "A Reply to the Soviet Scientists" published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1948)

- "Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it." (from "Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist", 1949)

- "A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises is, the more different kinds of things it relates, and the more extended is its area of applicability." (from "Notes for an Autobiography" published in Saturday Review, 1949)

- "Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being." (from "Why Socialism" published in Monthly Review, 1949)

- "If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut." (from an article published in Observer, 1950)

- "All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon the earth." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulated the creative mind." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "Only through perils and upheavals can Nations be brough to further developments. May the present upheavals lead to a better world." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem -in my opinion- to characterize our age." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "Routine becomes of no avail under the swift change of conditions; conventions fall away like dry husks." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "The more cruel the wrong that men commit against an individual or a people, the deeper their hatred and contempt for their victim. Conceit and false pride on the part of a nation prevent the rise of remorse for its crime." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "To be a Jew ... means first of all to acknowledge and follow in practice those fundamentals in humaneness laid down in the Bible." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "Truth is what stands the test of experience." (from "Out of My Later Years", 1950)

- "One is born into a hedr of buffaloes and must be glad if one is not trampled underfoot before one's time." (from a letter, 1952)

- "I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it." (from a letter, 1953)

- "If I would be a young man again and had to decide how to make my living, I would not try to become a scientist or scholar or teacher. I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances." (from a letter to a reporter, 1954)

- "The distinctions separating the social classes are false; in the last analysis they rest on force." (from "My Credo" published in Wisdom, 1956)

- "Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized." (from "My Credo" published in Wisdom, 1956)

- "Ideas come from God." (from "My Friend, Albert Einstein" by Banesh Hoffman)

- "Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player." (from "What Life MEans to Einstein" by George Sylvester Viereck)

- "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." (from "What Life Means to Einstein" by George Sylvester Viereck)

- "The most beautiful emotion we can expreience is the mystical. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in primitive form -this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of devout religious men." (from "Einstein: His life and Times" by Phillip Frank)

- "I have just got a new theory of eternity." (from "A Statue Without Stature" by Daniel S. Greenberg)

- "The grant aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms." (from "The Meaning of Einstein's New Theory" by Lincoln Barnett)

- "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." (from "Quotable Quotes")

- "The intellect has little to do on the road to doscovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why."

- "When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute -and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity."

- "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."


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