Albert Einstein is a German-born physicist who is often referred to as the most influential physicist of all time. Born in 1879, Albert Einstein is famously known for his theories of general and special relativity which completely reshaped our understanding of space, time, and gravity. It is not wrong to say that Albert Einstein is the father of modern physics.
His work is still helping physicists to understand everything from lasers to gravitational waves, from solar panels to finding mercury’s orbit. He was awarded the Nobel prize in 1921 for explaining the behavior of electrically charged particles under different circumstances known as the photoelectric effect.
Early Life Story of The Special Child
Soon after the birth of Einstein his family moved to Munich and then to Italy. His father Hermann ran a photochemical factory but wasn’t extraordinarily successful. He didn’t talk until he was four years old which made his parents wonder whether he was mentally retarded or disabled. Einstein wrote in his memoir that two wonders deeply affected his early years. First was a compass which he received at the age of 5.
Einstein was fascinated with the fact that mystical forces can deflect a compass needle. This incident made him fell in love with the invisible forces of nature. The second wonder happened when he was 12 years old. He received a book of geometry which he called his “sacred geometry book” and worshipped.
Einstein was a born genius. He excelled at mathematics and physics and always topped his class but was a moderate student in other subjects. Einstein was a good student, but he often rebelled against some of his teachers with an authoritarian attitude. he always criticized the teaching methods and practices of schools and claim that schools are teaching students those things which they can learn on their own. schools are factories that suppress creativity.
Because of this rebellious attitude, Einstein dropped out of school at the age of 16. Then he got admitted to Swiss polytechnic Federal school in 1896 and after 5 years in 1901, he received his diploma from Swiss polytechnic to teach Mathematica and physics. However, he couldn’t find any job. he moved to Bern in 1902 and started working as a clerk at the Swiss federal patent office. He held this position till 1909. He married the love of his life Mileva Maric in 1903. This was the time when he got to work on his famous theories. In 1905, he earned his doctorate from the University of Zurich. This year is often referred to as the miracle year in the life of Einstein. He published Four Revolutionary research papers in 1905. Each one of them alters the course of modern physics.
1. First research paper was about the photoelectric effect in which Einstein explains that light occurs in a continuous beam of tiny discrete packets of energy and these particles should displace electrons in metal in a precise manner.
2. In the second research paper, he experimentally proved the existence of atoms. This was the first experimental proof at that time.
3. In this research paper, he published the mathematical derivation of the theory of special relativity and explained the electrodynamics of moving bodies.
4. In his 4th research paper, he gave his famous equation E = mc2 in a single blow. Based on this equation, we can produce a tremendous amount of energy through nuclear reactors and devices.
These papers appeared as a shock for many scientists of that era, and they refused to accept its merit. But this changed when Einstein received the attention of Max Plank. After that, he quickly rose into the academic world. He worked as a professor at the University of Zurich (1909, 1912), Plague (1911). Then, he worked as director for Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of physics at the University of Berlin from 1913 to 1933.
In November 1915, Einstein finally completed the theory of general relativity which he called his “masterpiece”. He proved that time is not absolute and only the speed of light in a vacuum is the one true constant in the entire universe. Einstein’s theory was proved in 1919 when Sir Arthur Eddington calculated the position of stars during a solar eclipse and found that the position of the star was shifted because the light coming from the star was bending due to the strong gravitational pull of the sun. This made Einstein a global icon. He won a noble prize in physics for the photoelectric effect in 1921 but gave all the prize money to his first wife as divorce money. Einstein remained in Germany till 1933 and then move to the USA and started teaching at the University of Princeton where he retired in 1945.
During his last years, Einstein was working on a unified theory of nature. He tried to merge gravity with electromagnetism but couldn’t complete it during his lifetime. On April 17, 1955, suffered from a swelling in the aorta and refused the surgery by saying to the doctors that “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially; I have done my share; it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.” He died on 18 April 1955 early in the morning. He said his last words to a British nurse at the facility in Germany who couldn’t understand what he said.
Einstein wished to be cremated. So, most of his body was cremated but a doctor at Princeton hospital performed an autopsy and removed Einstein’s brain and eyeballs to unveil the secrets of his geniuses. He cut many small pieces of Einstein’s brain and observed it under a microscope. He often sent these samples to other researchers who had requested him but kept it a secret. He eventually donated Einstein’s brain to Princeton hospital. Harvey’s studies found that Einstein’s brain cells needed more energy than any other person which could have been a reason for his amazing conceptual skills. His brain also had extra folding in gray matter and had a small cerebral cortex.
He was a scientist who was way ahead of his time and technology. He predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1915 and these waves were proved in 2016 when two black holes collided near the center of our galaxy almost a century later. He was a true genius. A figure to cheer for!