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Albert Einstein: 135th anniversary

Albert Einstein was born 135 years day, on the \(\pi\approx 3.14\) day in 1879.

He is a towering figure of modern physics. Your humble correspondent knows too much about him; many readers know too much about him, too. Many of us have been exposed to similar things but I've also learned a lot of things about Einstein's stay in Prague, for local reasons. These things are too numerous and they just don't fit into a biography so I have removed Albert Einstein (and a few others) from attempts to write a short biography that you have heard about many others. Einstein is too large a soul for that, sorry.

Numerous documentaries about Einstein have been linked to: Einstein and Eddington; How I See the World (PBS), and others. Today, I decided to embed a 90-minute documentary "Albert Einstein: Equation of Life and Death".

At the beginning, they (Clifford Johnson, Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and others) play a lot with theme of the "young Albert Einstein, a complete loser". His father is dying, convinced that Albert is a disgrace of the family. But Albert Einstein makes it to a patent clerk of the third class and starts to produce papers. The relativity paper was apparently delayed before it got to the competent hands of Max Planck.

There are some observations about Mileva Malič and Einstein's relationship to women and violins – including the inappropriate love to his cousin Elsa. In the special relativistic part, they make a bizarre claim that \(E=mc^2\) has nothing to do with special relativity. As the story develops, they get to the 1905-1915 period "in between the two relativities". Special relativity is being gradually accepted, he is being invited to conferences, and so on.

Bending-of-light experiments are reviewed. Those were discussed in "Einstein and Eddington" in detail.

Amusingly enough from the perspective of ongoing events, around 28:00 they say that "Crimea is a Russian territory". :-) That was an unexpectedly accurate prediction. Einstein would use a "red rose" die to decide that he would accept a good job in Berlin. There was some family planning in which Einstein made a bet that he would win the Nobel prize. An expedition to Crimea fails because of clouds and the First World War. Converted Jew Haber invents a horrible chemical weapon, Einstein is disgusted by his (ex-)friend. He enters the same passive resistance I entered when I had the pleasure to deal with the Feminazis and other PC Nazis at Harvard.

The isolation was great for Einstein's work on GR. He finds a mistake in his bending-light calculation. Thank God that the eclipse experiments couldn't have done earlier; they would have refuted Einstein's (incorrectly calculated) theory and Einstein's career would probably be destroyed. They suggest that his work was fully motivated by the Nobel Prize while he was completing GR. He had to worry that David Hilbert scoops him and Einstein wins nothing. Einstein returned to an equation he considered and (incorrectly) abandoned in Winter 1912. Suddenly, he could reproduce the Mercury perihelion anomaly. Oh my God. David Hilbert generously says that the theory is Einstein's. And Einstein is happy and able to realize that\[

\large R_{\mu\nu} - \frac 12 R g_{\mu\nu} = 8\pi G T_{\mu\nu}

\] shortly before his talk at the Academy. ;-) Einstein becomes very ill at that time, Elsa saves his life and becomes his nurse and cook. Eddington-Einstein stories again. Did the strange German Jew really overthrow Einstein? Eddington is a dissident, too, obsessed by showing that science can beat the nationalist hostilities. Skies cleared for a moment; most pictures were worthless but several of them were OK. Eclipse is so breathtaking. Campbell sees no bending of light but fortunately stays silent. The prediction works according to Eddington.

Einstein became a public celebrity and he enjoyed the status. Media and social networks of that time used Einstein as their material to develop.

Doubts about Einstein in the hostile Anglo-Saxon world. Eddington accused of fudging his photographs. New eclipse in Australia in 1922. Campbell is eager to improve his equipment and kill GR once for all. But he has 6 competing expeditions. Campbell is the best one, anyway, but his results on 100 stars confirm GR perfectly. Einstein is the first guy to be called by Campbell. Great. After 3 refusals in a row, he gets the 1921 Nobel Prize in 1922 (a delay: no candidate fulfilled Nobel's criteria in 1921). For the photoelectric effect; however, the disappeared opposition to relativity in 1922 was probably needed. Mileva grabs the Nobel Prize and manages to "survive" with them; that describes Slavic women's ability to deal with the money LOL.

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snail feedback (11) :

reader Smoking Frog said...

In the special relativistic part, they make a bizarre claim that E=mc2 has nothing to do with special relativity.

Who exactly makes this claim? (My speakers are missing.) Isn't it not just bizarre, but stupid?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Hi Smoking Frog, I don't have time to look for it again now. But it was probably the narrator and the claim was that in 1905, he found E=mc^2 but it turned out that a more important thing he discovered was something else, special relativity - or some formulation of this sort.

reader Smoking Frog said...

OK, thanks, Lubos. Still, I'd think the narrator's spiel should have been checked by Kaku et al.

reader Anon said...

Should be "really overthrow Newton"

reader Marcel van Velzen said...

You can’t understand Einstein without knowing who probably influenced him the most: "My whole adolescence stood under his sign. Indeed, even today he has been dear to me in many a desperate hour."

reader Rathnakumar said...

Dr. Motl,
Einstein won the 1921 prize, the 1922 prize went to Niels Bohr.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I didn't say that he won the 1922 prize. I wrote that he got the prize in 1922 and that's true. In 1921, no candidate fulfilled Nobel's criteria so the next winner - Einstein - had to wait for another year. See

reader Rathnakumar said...

OK! :-)

reader Dilaton said...

Who are you talking about ...?

reader Giotis said...

That's nothing in a Greek newspaper I read that from 1941 onwards he was working in the development of the atomic bomb

reader Giotis said...

One equation to rule them all!

It's an incredible vision but unfortunately I have the feeling that Einstein's dream is a chimera...