Albert Einstein the Mathematician
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. -Albert Einstein. “Mathematics may not teach us how to add love or minus hate, but it gives us every reason to hope that every problem has a solution. -Unknown Albert Einstein, in my view, encapsulated the previous quote as a human being, citizen of the world, Mathematician and Physicist. His acknowledgement of the infinite complexity of Mathematics can be seen in his quote “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. His optimistic view on the concept of the universe and its ‘unknowns’ has catapulted the human race years ahead in knowledge and technology in a short span of time. Albert Einstein, who was afforded no middle name, was born at 11:30 am on Friday the 14th day of March in the year 1879, in Ulm, in the kingdom of Wuttenburg in the German Empire to parents Herman and Pauline Einstein. Einstein’s father, Herman Einstein was an engineer and salesman and his mother, Pauline Einstein (nee Koch) by all accounts, was a homemaker and passionate pianist in her downtime, and a housekeeper in her later life. During his formative years Einstein, who was from a family of non-observant Jews, attended a Catholic elementary school in Munich, following his parents move there, at the age of five. He attended that school for three years, (until he was aged eight) before being transferred to the Luitpold Gymnasium (now the Albert Einstein Gymnasium), which is a school for advanced leaners. There he received advanced primary and secondary schooling until he left the German Empire seven years later. He later revealed that he resented Luitpold Gymnasium for their teaching technique, i.e., rote learning, which is the belief that constant repetition will force one to learn and memorize versus critical thinking which encourages independent thinking. Einstein followed his parents to Italy in December of 1894, shortly after their move there. After his arrival in Italy, he wrote a short essay entitled, “On the investigation of the state of the Ether in a magnetic field. He was only thirteen years old at the time. Einstein, over the course of a single summer taught himself algebra and Euclidean geometry. At aged twelve, prior to his move to Italy, Einstein discovered his own proof of the Pythagorean theorem. Einstein, also at only twelve years old, surpassed his tutor’s mathematical reach and convinced himself that nature could be understood if it were looked at as a mathematical structure. Einstein taught himself calculus and by aged fourteen proclaimed that he had “mastered integral and differential calculus. Einstein’s apparent genius was confirmed when, at thirteen years old he was introduced to and fully understood the work of philosopher Immanuel Kant, specifically, “Critique of pure reason (Immanuel Kant, 1781), which was very complex to most. Immanuel subsequently became Albert’s favorite philosopher. After graduating from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic, which he attended from 1896-1900, and due to scarcity of work, Einstein founded the Ackademia Olympia (the Olympic Academy) to provide math and science tutoring. It later became a place, i.e., Einstein’s apartment, where he and a ‘few’ friends, most often Conrad Habichit and Maurice Solovine would meet to discuss Math and Physics. They would occasionally receive other visitors.
1905 is commonly known as Einstein’s miracle year. In that year, he published four groundbreaking papers on photo electric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity, and the the equivalent mass of energy. These works brought him, at twenty-six years old, to the notice of the academic world. Also, in the year 1905, he composed his thesis with experimental physicist Professor Alfred Kleiner as pro forma advisor. This led to him being awarded a Ph.D. by the university of Zurich in that same year. By 1908, Albert Einstein was recognized as a leading scientist and was appointed lecturer at the University of Bern. He was elected president of the German Physical Society in 1916 where he served until 1918. Einstein’s true genius was confirmed on May 29th, 1919, when his theory of general relativity made in 1911 was confirmed during a solar eclipse by Sir Author Eddington. Einstein was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922 but was unable to personally accept the award due to his travels. In February of 1933, while on a professorship in the United States, Einstein concluded that it was impossible for him to return to Germany, due to the new political regime, i.e., the Nazi party. As a result, Einstein renounced his German citizenship at an Antwerp German consulate. Afterward his German home was turned into a Hitler Youth Camp and his works were among those targeted in the “Nazi Book Burnings, by the German Student Union in May of 1933. Einstein was forced into refugee status after being labeled an enemy of the German regime and had a bounty reward of $5000 attached to his capture on a list labelled “not yet hanged. As a result, Einstein moved to England for a brief period of time where he met Sir Winston Churchill and successfully convinced him to aid in the rescue of many Jewish scientists who’d been targeted and ousted by the Nazi government. Einstein’s stay was cut short when his friend and British Naval Officer Commander Locker-Lampson was unable to successfully rally the British Parliament to grant Albert Einstein permanent British citizenship. This forced him to accept an earlier offer from the Institute for advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, to become a resident scholar. He came to the United States in October of 1933 to take up the post.
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Albert Einstein’s contributions to the modern-day world spans a scope that, arguably, has never been seen before. Some of Einstein’s many contributions are his theory of general relativity which concludes that light from another star should be bent by the sun’s gravity. This was proven, as previously stated, during the solar eclipse of 1919 by Sir Author Eddington and effectively overthrew previous Newtonian ideas. His theory of general relativity can be calculated using his mathematical formula E=mc2. This is one of Einstein’s many mathematical equations. This theory has led to the extensive research about nuclear fission. And showed that atoms contain copious amounts of energy. His theory of fusion as it pertains to energy and light, has spurred a new age of scientific research. Since his ‘discovery’ in the early 1900s and more actively since the 1950s, scientists have been actively trying to replicate the process of fission power here on earth with, alongside others, Einstein’s mathematical operation, E=mc2, at its core. Though scientists have concluded that successfully harvesting and using fission energy is decades away, Einstein’s theory could provide us with an endless supply of pollution free energy. This cements the fact that Einstein’s impact not only impacts our daily lives today but has the prospects to change the course of life on earth for possibly thousands of years to come. Einstein is very often associated with the development of the atomic bomb and nuclear energy by way of his inventions or discoveries. Albert Einstein was the first to prove that atoms do exist. Without Albert Einstein, televisions would not exist; telephones, i.e., smartphones would not be able to take photographs which directly links to Einstein and his theory of the photo-electric effect. In brief, the camera converts light into electricity by way of sensors. Also, all technologies that use laser beams can be directly traced to the work of Dr. Albert Einstein. Einstein’s works has also contributed to current GPS technologies. Equally, Einstein has had a crippling effect on past major events. Einstein’s theory and formula(s)have been directly linked to the creation and existence of the atomic bomb. This bomb changed the entire course of history when it was first used on the 6th of August 1945 during the second world war, to bomb the Japanese city of Hiroshima. This is one of the most crucial and direct actions during World War II by the United States and allied forces which secured democracy and the world we know today. It also changed the way wars and conflicts are approached today worldwide. This, again, all stemmed from Einstein’s theory and his calculation E=mc2, and others. Therefore, not only has Dr. Einstein’s mathematical calculations altered the past as well as the present, but the fact that his calculations will continue to have a profound impact on society for decades to come.
Since the beginning of recorded history, and long before then, one form of communication has always existed. Mathematical communication. Before people spoke or established a consistent mode of communication, they engaged in the exchange of goods and services for predetermined compensation. This, by all calculations, (pun intended) is simply put, Mathematics. Mathematics is used to measure distances, ratios, find and develop the unknown, and many other things. Society has advanced to the stage we now know, through the development of Mathematics. Mathematical discoveries, on their own, have propelled us to a level of knowledge previously unknown or untapped. Without Mathematics, life as we know it would not exist. Christopher Columbus would not have journeyed to the Western Hemisphere. In fact, ships and other modes of transportation would not have existed altogether. Buildings, roads, and all other forms of infrastructure would not exist. There would be no form of effective exchange of goods and or services.
In conclusion, Mathematics has answered and continues to answer numerous questions in the universe. Mathematics has not only answered numerous questions, but it is a constantly evolving field that asks its own questions. It is a subject area that provokes the imagination to garner a better understanding of our existence and that of the vast universe around us. This thought is better summarized by Dr. Albert Einstein himself where he is quoted as saying “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.