Theoretical physicist, one of the founders of modern theoretical physics, Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm (Germany). His father, Hermann Einstein, was the owner of a company selling electrical equipment, his mother, Paulina Einstein, was engaged in household work. In 1880, the Einstein family moved to Munich, where in 1885 Albert became a student of a Catholic elementary school. In 1888, he entered the Luitpold Gymnasium.
Children and youth
In 1894, Einstein's parents moved to Italy, and Albert, not having received a school-leaving certificate, soon reunited with them. He continued his education in Switzerland, where from 1895 to 1896 he was a student at the school in Aarau. In 1896, Einstein entered the Higher Technical School (Polytechnic) in Zurich, after which he was supposed to be a teacher of physics and mathematics. In 1901, he received a diploma, as well as Swiss citizenship (Einstein refused German citizenship in 1896). For a long time, Einstein could not find a teaching position and as a result got the position of technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office.
Start of activities
In 1905, three of Albert Einstein's most important scientific works were published at once, dedicated to the special theory of relativity, quantum theory, and Brownian motion. In the article “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend upon its Energy-Content”, Einstein first introduced the formula of the relation between mass and energy into physics, and in 1906 he wrote it in the form of the formula E = mc2. It underlies the relativistic principle of energy conservation, of all nuclear energy.
In early 1906, Einstein received a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich. However, until 1909, he remained an employee of the patent office, until he was appointed extraordinary professor of theoretical physics at the University of Zurich. In 1911, Einstein became a professor at the German University in Prague, and in 1914 he was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics and professor at the University of Berlin. He also became a member of the Academy of Sciences of Prussia.
In 1916, Einstein predicted the phenomenon of induced (stimulated) emission of atoms, which underlies quantum electronics. Einstein's theory of stimulated ordered coherent radiation led to the discovery of lasers.
In 1917, Einstein completed the creation of the general theory of relativity, a concept that justifies the extension of the principle of relativity to systems moving with acceleration and curvilinear relative to each other. Einstein's theory for the first time in science justified the relationship between the geometry of space-time and the distribution of mass in the Universe. The new theory was based on Newton's theory of gravity.
Although both the special and general theories of relativity were too revolutionary to gain immediate recognition, they soon received a number of confirmations. One of the first was an explanation of the precession of the orbit of Mercury, which could not be fully understood in the framework of Newtonian mechanics. During a total solar eclipse in 1919, astronomers managed to observe a star hidden behind the edge of the sun. This testified to the fact that the rays of light bend under the influence of the gravitational field of the sun. Einstein became famous, when reports of the 1919 solar eclipse were circulated around the world. In 1920, Einstein became a visiting professor at Leiden University, and in 1922 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the laws of the photoelectric effect and his work in theoretical physics. In 1924-1925, Einstein made a great contribution to the development of quantum Bose statistics, which is now called the Bose-Einstein statistics.
In the 1920s and 1930s, anti-Semitism was gaining strength in Germany; the theory of relativity was subjected to scientifically unreasonable attacks. In a climate of slander and threats, scientific creativity was impossible, and Einstein left Germany.
In 1932, Einstein lectured at the California Institute of Technology, and from April 1933 he received a professorship at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study (USA), where he worked until the end of his life.
For the last 20 years of his life, Einstein developed the “Unified field theory”, trying to bring together the theory of gravitational and electromagnetic fields. Although Einstein did not solve the problem of the unity of physics, mainly due to the undeveloped concepts of elementary particles, subatomic structures and reactions at that time, the very methodology for the formation of a “unified field theory” clearly showed its importance in creating modern concepts for the unification of physics.
Einstein's works became the basis of modern cosmology: the concepts of the origin and evolution of the Universe, theories of "black holes" and "collapse", and the doctrine of the structure of the World.
Einstein devoted much attention to the problems of ethics, humanism, and pacifism. He developed the concept of the scientist’s ethics, his responsibility to humanity for the fate of his discovery. Einstein's ethical-humanistic ideals were realized in his social activities. In 1914, Einstein opposed the German "patriots" and during the First World War signed the anti-war manifesto of German pacifist professors. In 1919, Einstein signed the pacifist manifesto of Romain Rolland and, in order to prevent wars, put forward the idea of creating a world government.
When Einstein received information about the German uranium project during World War II, he, despite his pacifist convictions, together with Leo Sylard sent a letter to US President Franklin Roosevelt describing the possible consequences of the creation of the atomic bomb by the Nazis. The letter had a significant impact on the decision of the US government to force the development of atomic weapons.
After the collapse of Nazi Germany, Einstein, along with other scientists, called on the US president not to use the atomic bomb during the war with Japan.
This appeal did not prevent the tragedy of Hiroshima, and Einstein intensified his pacifist activities, became the spiritual leader of the campaigns for peace, disarmament, for the prohibition of atomic weapons, for ending the Cold War.
Shortly before his death, he put his signature on the appeal of the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, addressing the governments of all countries, warning them of the dangers of using a hydrogen bomb and calling for a ban on nuclear weapons. Einstein advocated the free exchange of ideas and the responsible use of science for the benefit of mankind.
Illness and death
Albert Einstein passed away on April 18, 1955 at a Princeton hospital from aortic aneurysm. Before his death, he asked his relatives not to arrange a magnificent funeral for him and not to divulge the place of his burial.
Only twelve closest friends saw off the great scientist’s last journey. His body was cremated, and the ashes scattered in the wind.