Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Albert Einstein

Some of the interesting, but less known facts I came to know about the great Albert Einstein:
(not arranged chronologically)

  • Einstein showed Alferd Kleiner (Einstein's PhD thesis supervisor) his first PhD thesis dissertation in November 1901. However, Einstein withdrew his dissertation in February 1902.
  • One year later he considered giving up his plan to obtain a doctorate and noted to his friend Michele Besso that "the whole comedy has become tiresome for me."
  • By March 1903 Einstein had changed his mind, and decided to continue with his PhD. Indeed, a letter to his friend 'Besso' contains some of the central ideas of the 1905 dissertation.
  • At the age of 26, having studied under Alfred Kleiner, Professor of Experimental Physics, Einstein was awarded a PhD by the University of Zurich. His dissertation was entitled "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions".
  • In 1901 Einstein transitioned his thesis supervison from "H.F. Weber" to "Alfred Kleiner"; and changed his dissertation topic from thermoelectricity to molecular kinetics.
  • Kleiner's (his thesis supervisor) judgement of the dissertation was: "the arguments and calculations to be carried out are among the most difficult in hydrodynamics."
  • The other reviewer, Heinrich Burkhardt, Professor for Mathematics at the University, said: "the mode of treatment demonstrates fundamental mastery of the relevant mathematical methods."
  • Einstein later laughingly recounted that his dissertation was first returned by Kleiner with the comment that it was too short. After he had added a single sentence, it was accepted without further comment..!!
  • Einstein's PhD thesis does not follow his basic statistical approach. It has been argued that Einstein avoided his own theoretical ideas to win the approval of his PhD advisor, Alfred Kleiner.
  • Following graduation, Einstein could not find a teaching post. After almost two years of searching, a former classmate's father helped him get a job in Berne, at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property the patent office, as an assistant examiner.
  • In 1905, while he was working in the patent office, Einstein had four papers published in the "Annalen der Physik", the leading German physics journal. These are the papers that history has come to call the "Annus Mirabilis Papers". All four papers (also included among these 4 is his paper on mass–energy equivalence, E = mc2) are today recognized as tremendous achievements—and hence 1905 is known as Einstein's "Wonderful Year". At the time, however, they were not noticed by most physicists as being important, and many of those who did notice them rejected them outright. Some of this work—such as the theory of light quanta—remained controversial for years.
  • In letters to Mileva Maric, Einstein noted the frequent discussions that he had with Kleiner on a wide range of topics. On 19 December 1901, Einstein writes Marić that he had: "spent the whole afternoon with Kleiner in Zurich and explained my ideas on the electrodynamics of moving bodies to him. ...He advised me to publish my ideas about the electromagnetic theory of light for moving bodies together with the experimental method. He found the experimental method proposed by me to be the simplest and most appropriate one conceivable. ... I shall most certainly write the paper in the coming weeks."

Now something personal about Einstein:

  • Einstein was at Switzerland to finish his secondary school. While lodging with the family of Professor Jost Winteler, he fell in love with the family's daughter, Marie. Later they broke up.
  • In 1896, Einstein's first wife-to-be, Mileva Marić, enrolled at ETH, as the only woman studying mathematics. During the next few years, Einstein and Marić's friendship developed into romance.
  • Einstein and Mileva Marić had a daughter, Lieserl Einstein, born in early 1902. Her fate is unknown. Some claim that she was mentally challenged by birth; and died of "scarlet fever" as an infant. Another possibility is that Lieserl was adopted by Maric's close friend, Helene Savic and was raised by her and lived under the name "Zorka Savic" until 1990s.
  • Einstein married Mileva on January 6, 1903, although Einstein's mother had objected to the match because she had a prejudice against Serbs and thought Marić "too old" and "physically defective."
  • In a letter to her, Einstein called Marić "a creature who is my equal and who is as strong and independent as I am."
  • Einstein and Marić divorced on February 14, 1919, having lived apart for five years. On June 2 of that year, Einstein married Elsa Löwenthal, who had nursed him through an illness. Elsa was Albert's first cousin maternally and his second cousin paternally. Together the Einsteins raised Margot and Ilse, Elsa's daughters from her first marriage. Their union produced no children.
  • While travelling, Einstein had written daily to his wife Elsa and adopted step daughters, Margot and Ilse, and the letters were included in the papers bequeathed to The Hebrew University. Margot Einstein permitted the personal letters to be made available to the public, but requested that it not be done until twenty years after her death (she died in 1986). There are about 3,500 pages of private correspondence written between 1912 and 1955.
  • In the period before World War II, Albert Einstein was so well-known in America that he would be stopped on the street by people wanting him to explain "that theory". He finally figured out a way to handle the incessant inquiries. He told his inquirers "Pardon me, sorry! Always I am mistaken for Professor Einstein."
  • Time magazine's Frederic Golden wrote that Einstein was "a cartoonist's dream come true."


my page said...

Nice facts !!!!

BINDRA said...

ya..i think i have to...