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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Monarch of the Mind- Albert Einstein

The year is often referred to as Einstein’s annus mirabilis or miracle year. A paper titled ‘Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?’ focused on the relativity theory and led to the famous equation E = mc2.

education Updated: May 02, 2019 18:59 IST

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein (Source: Wikipedia/ illustration: Malay Karmakar)
         

Einstein was awarded PhD by the University of Zurich in 1905 for a dissertation titled A New Deter mination of Molecular Dimensions. In the same year, the 26-year-old published four path breaking papers on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity, as well as the equivalence of mass and energy, which made the academic world sit up and take notice of his rapidly growing stature.

The year is often referred to as Einstein’s annus mirabilis or miracle year. A paper titled ‘Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?’ focused on the relativity theory and led to the famous equation E = mc2.

In 1908, he was appointed lecturer at the University of Bern and became the associate professor in 1909. In 1916, Einstein was elected president of the German Physical Society. When the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics was established on October 1, 1917, he was appointed its director. His predictions in 1911, based on his theory of general relativity, were confirmed eight years later bringing him greater international acclaim.

He was conferred the Nobel Prize in 1921 for services to theoretical physics, especially for the discovery of the law of photoelectric effect.During a visit to the United States in early 1933 Einstein understood that given the growing power of the Nazis under Adolf Hitler, it would not be feasible for him to return to Germany. Later that year, he joined the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, as Professor of Theoretical Physics and in 1940, became an American citizen.

MARRIAGES AND CHILDREN

Einstein was married twice — first to his former student Mileva Maric (1903–1919) and then to his cousin Elsa Lowenthal (1919–1936), He had a daughter named Lieserl and sons Eduard and Hans Albert.

CHAMPION OF PEACE

Einstein travelled across the world not just in pursuit of scientific activities but also to promote international peace at a time when the world was increasingly veering towards strife. He met with some of the most influential leaders from spheres of politics, science, culture and entertainment including Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and Rabindranath Tagore, to promote pacifist ideals. Deeply impressed by Mahatma Gandhi, he often exchanged letters with him, and referred to him as “a role model for generations to come.”

DEATH

On 17 April 1955, Einstein suffered internal bleeding in the abdominal aorta. He refused surgery, saying, “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 at the Princeton Hospital the next morning aged 76. During the autopsy, pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey, removed Einstein’s brain for preservation without the permission of his family, in the hope that the neuroscience of the future would be able to discover what made him so intelligent.

First Published: May 02, 2019 17:49 IST