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Albert Einstein
by Sunitichandra Mishra
The Genius of All Times

Have you ever heard about the Theory of Relativity? Even if you have heard, the theory is very complicated to be understood by a simple fellow like you and me. Albert Einstein, the scientist who is hailed as a great genius of our times, propounded this wonderful theory.

There is a joke that Einstein’s wife, who was often nagging with him, once told him: “What is this theory of Relativity you give big lectures about in universities and seminars? I can’t understand this rubbish”. Einstein smiled and said: “Yes, it is difficult for you to understand but I will try a simple method. Just think that when I am with you, even a minute is spent like an hour but when I am with that next-door girl who plays so beautifully on violin, even an hour is spent like a minute. This is Theory of Relativity”. And Einstein was right.

This is the basic ‘truth’ of the Theory of Relativity. The Theory tell us that time and space are not absolute but relative things. For example, when you travel from Delhi to New York in a plane, the distance and time both reduce considerably and if you have to travel the same destination in a ship, it will take weeks for you to reach. So time and distance have both expanded for you. Take another example, when you are sitting in a train, even though you are ‘sitting’ in relation to the next passenger, you are ‘traveling’ by a speed of 60-70 kmph in relation to a person standing on a platform. The Theory of Relativity has not only changed many modern scientific concepts but has also given a new spiritual insight about God and universe.

Albert Einstein was born in Germany in 1879. Though he was a great scientist, he loved music and enjoyed playing on the violin. In 1886, Albert Einstein began his school career in Munich. He also continued with his violin lessons. He was brought up in a religious family and had regular religious education at home where he was taught Judaism. He studied Mathematics. In 1894 Einstein's family moved to Milan but Einstein remained in Munich. In 1895 Einstein failed an examination and so he could not get his diploma as an electrical engineer. He could not pursue his studies regularly and became a teacher of Mathematics at the Technical High School in Winterthur. Later, he got another job in the office of the director of the patent office in Bern where he worked for seven years from 1902. It was during this job that he published many great articles about his scientific ideas and findings and became a popular figure. In 1905, the University of Zurich conferred Doctorate on him for his thesis on a new determination of molecular dimensions. Later in 1905 Einstein showed how mass and energy were equivalent. He made important contributions to quantum theory.

In 1908 Einstein became a lecturer at the University of Bern and then, next year, a professor of physics at the University of Zurich. By 1909 Einstein was recognized as a leading scientific thinker. Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921. Among further honors which Einstein received were the Copley Medal of the Royal Society in 1925 and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1926.

Albert Einstein developed a theory about the relationship of mass and energy. The formula, E=mc2, is probably the most famous outcome from Einstein's special theory of relativity. The formula says energy (E) equals mass (m) times the speed of light (c) squared. In essence, it means mass is just one form of energy. Since the speed of light squared is an enormous number (186,000 miles per second)2, a small amount of mass can be converted to a phenomenal amount of energy. Or, if there's a lot of energy available, some energy can be converted to mass and a new particle can be created. Nuclear reactors, for instance, work because nuclear reactions convert small amounts of mass into large amounts of energy.

Though the nuclear bomb that has proved to be a terror by this time, capable of destroying this earth several times, is believed to be developed on the basis of Einstein’s theories. He himself was a lover of peace and universal brotherhood and a keen admirer of Mahatma Gandhi. One week before his death Einstein wrote a letter to Bertrand Russell in which he urged all nations to give up nuclear weapons. He always worked for international peace and on 18 April 1955, this wonderful genius passed away from this mortal realm.      

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