Biography

Albert Einstein

The Miracle Year

The first paper Einstein published in the Miracle Year was titled "

Einstein didn't just pull this idea out of thin air, he deduced the idea from current scientific theories and experiments ran by other physicists. Max Planck's work (Planck's Constant) as well as experimental work on the photoelectric effect performed by Philipp Lenard had a great impact on Einstein's theory.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This idea that light existed in quanta was initially rejected by the scientific community including most of the great physicists of the day (even Max Planck rejected this hypothesis). It wasn't until many years later, in 1919, when experiments demonstrated the accuracy of Einstein's theory that the theory of photons became more widely accepted. When Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921, his work on the photoelectric effect was specifically mentioned. Today, the photon is a fundamental part of modern physics.

Einstein's second paper in 1905 was not as groundbreaking as his first, but still proved an important milestone in the history of physics. The paper was titled "

In this paper, Einstein used the random movement of molecules to explain Brownian Motion in liquid. Up until this point, explaining Brownian Motion in liquid had been a stumbling block in the effort to prove the existence of molecules and atoms. By using statistical physics, Einstein was able to explain how the small random effects of millions of tiny molecules could cause the movement of a larger particle (i.e. Brownian Motion). This paper not only proved the existence of molecules and atoms, but also demonstrated the importance of statistical physics in science.

Source: Nonequilibrium Statistical Thermodynamics

Einstein's third paper of 1905 was titled "

In the paper, Einstein postulated that the speed of light, however, was always constant. It did not change based on the relative velocity of the observer and the light source. He then explored the idea of simultaneous events and concluded that events which appeared simultaneous to one observer may not appear simultaneous to another observer. Unlike many scientific papers, Einstein explained his new theory by describing thought experiments rather than complex mathematics. He used the example of person traveling on a train versus one standing the platform to illustrate how his theory worked.

Einstein also claimed that the mysterious "ether" that scientists had been trying to define for hundreds of years did not exist. This may not sound groundbreaking today, but the concept of the "ether" was an important idea in physics at the time. Dismissing the idea of the "ether" was a daring statement and changed the course of physics.

Hendrik Lorentz in defining Special Relativity

Source: Royal Library

The final paper of Einstein's Miracle year was titled "

This idea, and Einstein's famous equation, had huge implications. The equation demonstrated that even a small amount of mass contained huge amounts of energy. If you look at Einstein's equation you will see that energy (E) equals the mass (m) times the square of the speed of light (c). The speed of light (c) is a constant and a large number (approximately 300,000 km/sec or 186,000 miles/sec). So, even a small amount of mass multiplied by c

Author: Derek Jensen

Einstein also presented his dissertation "

- Overview
- Growing up Einstein
- Education, the Patent Office, and Marriage
- The Miracle Year
- Theory of General Relativity
- Academic Career and Nobel Prize
- Leaving Germany and World War II
- More Discoveries
- Later Life and Death
- Albert Einstein Quotes and Bibliography

Works Cited