Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) was born in the small town of Ulm, Germany and received his early education there. He showed very little intellectual promise as a child, except in the area of mathematics. He attended university of Switzerland but was not considered qualified to go on to graduate school. Besides, he was Jewish and also not a Swiss citizen and therefore was denied a university post.

In 1901, he accepted a job as a clerk in the Patent Office in Berne, where he worked until 1909. In 1905, Einstein published papers that described three important new concepts in physics. The first, in the field of quantum theory, was his explanation of the photoelectric effect. The second, published two months later, was his mathematical interpretation of the random motion of particles in a fluid, a phenomenon known as "Brownian movement". The third and possibly his greatest accomplishment, gave us a new outlook on the physical universe, replacing the Newtonian concepts of motion that had been accepted for over 225 years.

The Special Theory of Relativity and the mass energy relationship E = mc2, describe in this chapter, represent a monumental achievement for the power of the human mind; they forced scientists of the day to reconsider all they had always presumed about motion within the physical universe.

By 1909, Einstein's work had been widely recognized, and he was offered university posts, first at the university of Zurich and in 1913 at the prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute in and Berlin (later renamed the Max Planck Institute.) In 1915 he published his General Theory of Relativity. This broader theory predicted further effects not forecast by Newtonian mechanics. In it, he proposed a theory a gravitation that treated Newton's theory of gravitation as only a special case of the more...