Einstein Was One of History's Most Brilliant Minds

Albert Einstein was a renowned physicist and remains one of the most famous scientists in the world to this day. His findings, especially his General Theory of Relativity, completely re-shaped the way the world views the universe.

Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany. Except for mathematics, he hated school and dropped out at the age of 15. Einstein left his German citizenship behind and moved to Switzerland to avoid the military draft. Here, he attempted formal schooling again and studied mathematics and physics at Zurich Polytechnic, where he graduated in 1900. Einstein applied to several universities for advanced study, but wasn't accepted anywhere.

In 1905, Einstein submitted five influential papers to the German physics journal Annals of Physics. The first paper explained the “photoelectric effect” and eventually earned him the Nobel Prize in 1921. The second paper, for which Einstein was awarded a doctorate from Zurich Polytechnic, addressed how to measure molecules. His third paper explained Brownian motion, or the movement of tiny particles suspended in liquid. Einstein’s fourth paper, which covered his Special Theory of Relativity, stated that time and space are relative to the observer. His fifth paper posited mass as a form of energy.

Einstein wrote four of these papers in under one year while working a low-paying job as a patent office clerk. Two years later, he quit his job when he was offered a professorship at Zurich Polytechnic. By 1913, Einstein was employed at Berlin University, where he conducted his own research.

It was Einstein's fifth paper that brought him widespread fame. In this paper, he stated that mass is energy in a different form, which he illustrated with the equation E=mc2. This equation, energy equals mass times the speed of light squared, revolutionized global thinking about how radiation works.

In 1915, 10 years after he published his paper on the Special Theory of Relativity, Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity. According to this theory, an object with significant mass causes distortion in space-time. The larger the object, the greater the distortion. For example, the reason planets orbit the sun isn’t because they are affected by its force; rather, it's because the sun’s mass curves space-time.

On May 29, 1919 an astronomer named Sir Arthur Eddington observed a solar eclipse that showed the stars and sun positioned just as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity had predicted. And in 1929, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity helped scientist Edwin Hubble prove that the universe was expanding.

Despite his many brilliant theorems, Einstein's Unified Field Theory, which explained the laws of the universe, would never prove plausible. In it, he left out an important assumption: the “Uncertainty Principle.” Einstein never accepted the Uncertainty Principle, which states that math cannot predict exactly where a particle is but can make a close prediction. The first version of his Unified Field Theory came out in 1929 and received mostly negative attention; many scientists thought Einstein’s refusal to accept quantum theory’s Uncertainty Principle hindered his credibility.

Following this criticism, Einstein created a second version of his Unified Field Theory in 1950, but it was still ignored by many theoretical physicists. Five years after he published the second version of this theory, in April of 1955 at the age of 76, he passed away.

Even though many—if not most—people don’t completely understand Einstein’s theories, he is still considered one of the most brilliant thinkers in history.

[Source: The Great Scientist]