Einstein, born in 1879, was born in Germany and was the son of an Electrical Engineer.  Most of his childhood was spent in Germany and Italy, but he eventually would move to Switzerland.  His move to Switzerland was prompted by his desire to study mathematics and physics at the Federal Polytechnic Academy located in Zurich.

Many of you know that he worked as a Patent Clerk, which was true, but many of you might not know that this was also in Switzerland, Bern to be exact.  He would also become a Swiss citizen and receive a PHD from the University of Zurich, all of this was before he was 30, 26 I believe. That very same year, 1905, turned out to be a great year for old Albert.

In 1905, Einstein would publish five papers that would affect and some say change the physics world.

“On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light,” was the first paper published that year.  Basically this paper said that light was made up of photons, and that light, and these photons had particle like properties, yet worked as a wave also.  He also observed that some solids, when struck by light, would emit electrically charged particles.  While he didn’t get much recognition when published, he would eventually win the Noble Peace Prize in physics in 1921 for this paper.

The second and third paper would go together and help prove the existence of atoms.  While common knowledge know, Scientists back in the early 20th century were still disputing their existence, Einsteins papers settled it.  The second paper changed the way atoms and molecules were counted.  It also changed the way that the size of them were calculated.  The theory in the third paper would eventually become known as Brownian Motion.  In short Brownian motion is a mathematical way to explain the erratic and constant movement of particles in fluids.  These two papers would eventually be used to put to rest the arguments that atoms didn’t exist

The fourth paper is one of his most well known, its the special theory of relativity paper that most of us have heard of.  This paper along with the fifth are probably the two most well known to the general public.  The fourth paper, special theory of relativity, states that in special relativity, time and space are not absolute, but relative to the motion of the observer.  Which means that two people traveling at high speeds might not always experience the same events and in fact  wouldn’t even observe the same measurements in their space.  In this theory Einstein argued that the only constant to the two people would be the speed of light.  The speed of light is also the limiting factor in any mass, stating that nothing can travel faster.  The fifth paper expands on this and offers the most well known mathematics equation in history, E=MC².

Sadly it took years for Einstein to be recognized for most of his work.  He was always welcome in physics circuits and continued to write papers for years.  Einstein would marry, father a child, divorce, then marry again, to his cousin….  He would also become known as one of the greatest minds of all time.  His theories would help crack the atom, both for good (atomic power) and bad (atomic weapons)  He became the poster child for science, a virtual rock star, to this day he still appears on shirts, posters and even in video games.  Microsoft used his likeness in old versions of office (you had to chose it over that stupid paper clip.)  There’s way more about Einstein then I listed here worth looking into.  You could always wikipedia or google him, you can also check 0ut the official site http://einstein.biz/.  I also recommend this book Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson http://www.amazon.com/Einstein-Life-Universe-Walter-Isaacson/dp/0743264746/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1331742336&sr=8-4 It’s a great read and gives a lot of insight into his personal life.

“Time to party like its 1899!”

Well I hope you learned something and thanks for reading!

John

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