Albert Einstein

This essay has a total of 1864 words and 9 pages.

Albert Einstein


One of the smartest people ever to live, Albert Einstein, changed our society's
development forever with his views, theories, and developments. Einstein was born in Ulm,
Germany on March 14, 1879. He was the only son of Hermann and Pauline Kech Einstein. He
spent his youth in Munich, where his family owned a small electrical equipment plant. He
did not talk until the age of three and by the age of nine, was still not fluent in his
native language. (Discovering World History) His parents were actually concerned the he
might be somewhat mentally retarded.


His parent's concerns aside, even as a youth Einstein showed a brilliant curiosity about
nature and an ability to understand difficult mathematical concepts. At the age of 12 he
taught himself Euclidian Geometry. Einstein hated the dull regimental and unimaginative
spirit of school in Munich. (Albert Einstein's Early Life) His parents wisely thought to
transfer him out of that environment.


Although Einstein's family was Jewish, he was sent to a Catholic elementary school from
1884 to 1889. He was then enrolled at the Luitpold Gymnasium in Munich. In 1894, Hermann
Einstein's business failed and the family moved to Pavia, near Milan, Italy. Einstein was
left behind in Munich to allow him to finish school. Such was not to be the case, however,
since he left the gymnasium after only six more months. Einstein's biographer, Philip
Frank, explains that Einstein so thoroughly despised formal schooling that he devised a
scheme by which he received a medical excuse from school on the basis of a potential
nervous breakdown. He then convinced a mathematics teacher to certify that he was
adequately prepared to begin his college studies without a high school diploma. Other
biographies, however, state that Einstein was expelled from the gymnasium on the grounds
that he was a disruptive influence at the school. (Discovering World History)


In 1895, Einstein thought himself ready to take the entrance examination for the
Eldgenossiche Technische Hochschule (ETH: Swiss Federal Polytechnic School, or Swiss
Federal Institute of Technology), where he planned to major in electrical engineering.
When he failed that examination, Einstein enrolled at a Swiss cantonal high school in
Aarau. He found the more democratic style of instruction at Aarau much more enjoyable than
his experience in Munich and soon began to make rapid progress. He took the entrance
examination for ETH a second time in 1896, passed, and was admitted to school, although
other sources state that he was admitted without examination on the basis of his diploma
from Aarau. ETH had little appeal to Einstein, however. He rarely attended classes and
hated studying for examinations, although he did graduate with a secondary teaching degree
in 1900. He became a teacher of mathematics and physics in secondary school. (Albert
Einstein's Early Life)


As a teacher Einstein was unable to find a regular teaching job. Instead he was a tutor in
a private school in Schaffhausen. With his extra time in 1901, Einstein published his
first scientific paper, "Consequences of Capillary Phenomena. In 1902 he was hired at the
patent office until 1909. During this period of time, he was wed to his first wife Mileva
Marie and had two sons and a daughter. There are no records of his daughter due to the
fact that she was given up for adoption, they simply did not want her. (Discovering World
History)


In 1905, during a single year, Einstein produced a series of three consecutive papers.
These are among the most important in twentieth-century physics, and perhaps in all of the
recorded history of science for they revolutionized the way scientists look at the nature
of space, time, and matter. (Discovering World History) The series of three papers dealt
with the nature of particle movement known as Brownian motion, the quantum nature of
electromagnetic radiation as demonstrated by the photoelectric effect, and the special
theory of relativity (Discovering Science).


The first paper of the series, "On the Movement of Small Particles Suspended in Stationary
Liquid Demanded by the Molecular-Kinetic Theory of Heat, dealt with a phenomenon first
observed by Scottish Botanist Robert Brown in 1827. Brown stated that tiny particles, such
as dust particles, move about with a zigzag motion when suspended in water. The visible
movement of particles was created by the random movement of molecules that make up the
liquid. Einstein derived a mathematical formula that predicted the distance traveled by
the particles and their relative speed. This formula was later confirmed by French
physicist Jean Baptiste Perrin in 1908. Einstein's work on the Bownian movement is
regarded as the first experimental evidence of the existence of molecules. (Discovering
Science)


The second paper, "On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation
of Light, dealt with another puzzle in physics, the photoelectric effect. First observed
by Heinrich Hertz in 1888, the photoelectric involves the release of electrons from a
metal that happens when light is shined on the metal. The puzzling aspect of the
photoelectric effect was that the number of electrons released is not a function of the
light's intensity, but of the color of the light. Einstein assumed that light traveled in
tiny particle bundles called quanta of energy. The energy of any given light quantum (also
known as a photon), Einstein said, is a function of its wavelength. Therefore, when light
falls on a metal, electrons in the metal absorb specific energy, giving it enough energy
to escape from the surface of the metal. The number of electrons released will be
determined not by the intensity of the light, but by its energy. Einstein's hypothesis was
confirmed by several experiments and laid the foundation for the field of quantitative
photoelectrical chemistry and quantum mechanics. As recognition for this work, Einstein
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