If there is one word that describes genius, then it ought to be “Einstein.” He is considered the modern Prometheus.
His theories knew more than he did, and in his prime he developed two great theories that would completely revolutionize physics.
Born in the German Empire, Einstein showed a brilliant capacity for problem-solving, mathematical reasoning and physics at a very early age.
By the age of 14, he could solve university level calculus, work out problems of geometry, algebra and classical mechanics – problems that were rather challenging.
After receiving his BA from ETH[IC1] Zurich, he took a position as a patent officer in Switzerland for two years.
Although frustrating, this work gave him ample time to contemplate on Newton’s equations of motion. Einstein was stubborn and absolutely loathed the fact that Newtonian mechanics could not predict the precession of the perihelion of Mercury, or the time that it would be closest to the sun.
This tiny error in Newton’s law drove Einstein insane. So in 1905, he published the paper on Special Relativity.
In the paper, he theorized two things: the laws of physics are invariant under all inertial frames and the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers.
The Special Relativity papers, otherwise known as the Annus Mirabilis papers, combined distinct entities: space and time, mass and energy together.
He called this the “happiest thought of his life.” But, there was more to come. Special Relativity was “special” because it only dealt with constant velocity, but the real world is full of acceleration.
Now a professor at Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague, Einstein hibernated for 10 years. Finally, in 1915, Einstein published his paper, “The General Theory of Relativity.”
GR toppled the father of gravity, Isaac Newton; he showed that space and time is actually a fabric on which events occur. This discovery of a new theory led to headline news worldwide.
Einstein became a celebrity. As a maverick professor, he travelled the world to lecture at universities and laboratories.
He made an impact on the popular culture with his frizzy hair and unwillingness to wear socks, even at the White House.
The two theories of relativity are only a taste of his work. He worked on Bose Einstein Condensate to Photoelectric effect, for which he received a Nobel Prize.
In addition, he also worked on unifying fields and quantum mechanics. His final prediction of the existence of the gravitational waves was experimentally verified in 2015.
He opened up a whole new way of looking at the universe, brining rigor to mathematics.
Feynman described Einstein as, “A giant, his head was in the clouds, but his feet were on the ground. But those of us who are not that tall have to choose!” Indeed, his work ranged from condensed matter physics to particle physics to gravity and cosmology. In the modern day, one picks what field to study, but Einstein pioneered all of them.
In his dying days at Princeton, he wrote to Roosevelt to stop the war against Japan, calling it the greatest mistake of his life.
Albert Einstein is considered the greatest mind mankind has ever produced.
However, his theories did have some limitations; for instance, it fails to merge with quantum mechanics, the theory of the tiny particles.
It might take decades to solve the paradox, but the foundational work by Einstein will remain eternal to knowledge and humanity.