compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
In April 1905 Einstein submitted his doctoral thesis "A NEW DETERMINATION of Molecular Dimensions" to the university in Zurich which was accepted in July. During this same year he published five pioneering papers - Annus Mirabalis - in the scientific magazine "Annalen der Physik" which revolutionized physics around the turn of the century.
Three of the papers will be briefly mentioned here - In the first article "On A Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light" Einstein proposed that electromagnetic radiation must consist of quantums or photons. Even though this theory is capable of explaining - among other things - the photoelectric effect it was at first rejected by physicists, namely by the pioneer of modern physics, Max Planck, later, however, confirmed
by him and adopted.
This work became the foundation of a quantum theory and for this in particular Einstein received the Nobel Prize for the year 1921.
The paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" new interpretation delineates the principles of special relativity which deals with questions of objects as part of different coordination systems moving with constant speed relative to each other. It resulted in a of the conception of space and time and relies on the constancy of the speed of light and the principle of relativity which postulates that it is impossible to determine motions in an absolute way.
Shortly thereafter the paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend upon its Energy Content?" was published. It contains the famous equation E = m · c2 stating the equivalence of mass and energy. Through these publications Einstein attracted the attention of the scientific community. At the end of 1906 he published the paper "Planck's Theory of Radiation and the Theory of Specific Heat" which can be regarded as being the first publication on the quantum theory of the solid state.
"A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Einstein died in 1955. By then we had learnt how to combine quantum theory with the special theory of relativity. We had also understood that the myriad phenomena in nature are governed by just four forces - electromagnetism - gravity - the strong nuclear force - which holds atomic nuclei together - and the weak nuclear force - responsible for radioactive decay.
In quantum field theory, the probability of an event is computed by summing the probability amplitude (a complex number) for all possible ways in which the event can occur, as in the Feynman diagram shown here above in the title picture; the probability equals the square of the modulus of the total amplitude.
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