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true art of questioning is to discover what the pupil does know or is
capable of knowing."
Einstein's life and work
". . . science cannot focus on immediate practical results if it is not to wither away. The insights and methods developed by science serve practical purposes only indirectly and often only for future generations; . . . . If scientific research crumbles, the intellectual life of the nation shuts down, and with it, numerous possibilities for future advancement."
Albert Einstein, "The Plight of German Science: A Danger for the Nation." 21-12-1921. 1
Annus Mirabilis | Universal shift | Special Relativity | General Relativity | Biographical | Social | Epistemological
"To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties comprehend only in their most primitive forms the knowledge, this feeling, is at the center. . . ."
Albert Einstein's insights.
His comments on the scientific method.
Mirabilis 1905, in brief
two parts of science | dialectical method | defining science | Newton | Einstein's context
1905, was quite an
impressive year for Einstein's publications including:
effect where photons generate a flow of electrons, in phosphorus for
example means that light (high frequency) & electricity are interchangeable.
2. special relativity & the limitation of the speed of light.
3. molecular (and
4. Brownian Motion
(molecules & atoms) as related to heat; the warmer the gas the faster the movement of molecules.
human being, his discoveries and his motives.
Germans emerged from the Holy Roman Empire in 1815 & German unification, 1871.
His life span: 1879-1955
born March 14,
1880, moved to Munich, Bavaria.
1894, moved to Milan, Italy.
son of a business clerk he was a weak student in grade school
he had mixed experience in the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute
self-taught in the electrical engineering
a fine technician
1902, in Zurich, he worked in the Swiss patent office after graduate school
His discoveries in two miraculous years (annus
1915, November finished the final versions of his gravitational field equations – the basis of the "general theory of relativity."
Began a lifelong quest for brining relativity and quantum mechanics into a grand unified theory
Died in Princeton, New Jersey on April 19, 1955.
- the relations
of atoms & heat or Brownian motion
- electrons and
photoelectricity or the photoelectric effect
and gravity in “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies;” he described a more precise prediction of a simpler system than Newton’s
- inductive response
to special relativity is general relativity
our concept of the universe with the architecture of space-time
- confirmed two
anomalies in observational data:
- 1) bending of light rays as they pass a massive (gravitational field) object &
- 2) indifference of the speed of light to the direction of propagation.
- a lifelong, Ghandian
- sought the unified field theory to bring gravity and quantum mechanics together as Maxwell had done for electromagnetism
“The laws of nature become simpler at higher dimensions”
(M. Kaku, p. 79)
the problem of light (electromagnetic
human ethical obligation
• Einstein details
and Quarks (subatomic particles)
• Kaku, Beyond Einstein
"the noble building of Euclid's geometry . . . . even the most out-of-the-way proposition of this science to be untrue."
"Euclidean geometry deals with things called 'straight lines,' to each of which is ascribed the property of being uniquely determined by two points situated on it."
(Einstein, 1916, pp. 1-2).
Newton's Euclidean geometry Einstein's geometry
- elliptical orbits of planets and comets around the sun due to gravitational attraction
- all mechanical action has equal and opposite reaction
- material world is constant
- incessantly moving
matter interacting with moving matter
- small invisible
balls, atoms or corpuscles in the ether of space account for reality
- stationary, flat, or Euclidean geometry adequately measures space
- steadily advancing
linearity of time
- Time as a constant, unvarying and universally the same, quality independent of space
- Sir Isaac Newton
Newton's prism and a replica of his reflecting telescope of 1672.
Newton's inadvertent observational error.
1. Einstein on Politics. David E. Rowe & Robert Schulmann, eds., Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. pp. 90-91.
2. Michio Kaku & Jennifer Thompson. Beyond Einstein, New York: Random House, 1995.
3. David Cassidy. Einstein and Our World, 1995.
4. Thomas Levenson, Einstein in Berlin. New York: Bantam Books, 2003.
5. Abraham Pais, Subtle is the Lord: The Science and life of Albert Einstein. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
6. Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and General Theory. Robert W. Lawson, trans. New York: Crown Publishers (1916) 1961.
facets of Science
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