Einstein A to Z by Karen C. Fox and Aries Keck

Recent Posts
Einstein is smart
Einstein's home was window on the universe
An Einstein theory still tantalizes
Lights around the world relay Einstein's genius
Einstein's desk gets spruced up for return visit to Berlin
Einstein's time of space and relative peace
Einstein led an eccentric, contradictory private life
Benchmark of genius: Einstein theories alive
Another Einstein? Perhaps not for a very long time
Stamp show to feature Einstein commemoration

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Blog: Einstein in the News

Einstein's home was window on the universe
Saturday, April 23, 2005

It was exactly 100 years ago in this modest apartment in the city’s old town that Einstein churned out some of his most significant physics papers.

The unassuming building is just one of many along Bern’s Kramgasse and has an entrance that looks onto some of the city’s famous arcades.

Visitors have to climb two flights of steep, twisting stairs before reaching the small flat where Einstein made some of his groundbreaking discoveries.
Full story from swissinfo.org.

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An Einstein theory still tantalizes
Friday, April 22, 2005

As the world marks the 50th anniversary of Albert Einstein's death this week, a team of physicists is madly chasing the ghost of one of his last great unproven ideas: gravity waves.

In his 1916 theory of general relativity, Einstein predicted that collapsing stars, colliding black holes and other cosmic train wrecks would unleash ripples of gravitational radiation through space at light speed.

Nine decades later, scientists are still trying to find them. Even Einstein wondered whether the subatomic flutters he predicted could ever be detected. But after three years of fine tuning and trial runs, a $365 million instrument called LIGO may soon prove him wrong.
Full story from The Baltimore Sun.

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Lights around the world relay Einstein's genius
Friday, April 22, 2005

Organizers at Princeton University flipped the first light switch to kick off a worldwide relay of lights on Monday, the 50th anniversary of Albert Einstein's death.

The relay got under way at 8:45 p.m., when the nighttime sky was illuminated by the lights of the Princeton University Stadium as well as Fine Tower and the Graduate College's Cleveland Tower.

Then, an estimated 120,000 participants flipped light switches, dialed cellular phones and sent e-mails one right after another in a relay around the globe. The light traveled west with the night Monday and came full circle Tuesday evening when an e-mail arrived at 8:57 p.m. on the computer of Claire F. Gmachl, associate professor of electrical engineering at Princeton and one of the local organizers of the relay.
Full story from The Princeton Packet.

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Einstein's desk gets spruced up for return visit to Berlin
Friday, April 22, 2005

Considering the world-changing ideas that Albert Einstein hatched over the decades at the small wooden desk in his home, there's not a thing about it that's highfalutin.

Ink globs, nicks, gouges and dribbles of sealing wax mark the top of the desk _ really a table probably made by a 17th- or 18th-century craftsman in the German or Swiss countryside. A wooden rail around the bottom is worn in places where Einstein's feet rested as his brain conjured up the theories that radically altered our view of the universe.

But because of its famous owner, the humble work station from Einstein's study in Princeton, N.J., is getting the star treatment at a secret, high-security location in Philadelphia for a German exhibition on the centennial of Einstein's "miracle year."
Full story from Newsday.com.

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Einstein's time of space and relative peace
Monday, April 18, 2005

It was the place where the celebrated genius went to escape the madding crowds. And for three glorious summers the modest wooden summerhouse in the lakeside village of Caputh, near Potsdam, provided Albert Einstein and his family with the perfect retreat.

Now the bulldozers are putting the finishing touches to the garden before it and the house are opened to the public next month for the rest of this year.

Then the summerhouse becomes a centre for seminars and lectures, in accordance with Einstein's wishes. While it is open visitors will be able to see the simple study-bedroom where he wrote some of his most famous scientific papers, the roof terrace, with its sweeping views over the shimmering Lake Templin, and the enamel tub in which he bathed.

The opening is part of a year of celebrations in Germany marking the anniversaries of Einstein's theory of relativity, which he wrote in 1905, and his death in the US 50 years ago today.
Full story from Guardian Unlimited.

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Einstein led an eccentric, contradictory private life
Sunday, April 17, 2005

A half-century after announcing his theory of relativity, physicist Albert Einstein died in Princeton, New Jersey, the small university town that had been his home for the last 22 years of his life.

A ruptured artery in his stomach caused him to bleed to death at the age of 76 on April 18, 1955.

Shortly afterward, all bodily traces of the most famous scientist in history disappeared. A pathologist at Princeton's municipal hospital took his brain and hid it away for decades, while his stepdaughter, Margot, spread his ashes over a secret place in accordance with his wishes.

The two executors of his estate, his friend Otto Nathan and his secretary Helene Dukas, went through letters and documents in his house on Princeton's Mercer Street and in his laboratory at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS), destroying anything that posthumously could have soiled the image of the man German physicist Max Planck called "the new Copernicus."

What remained were Einstein's revolutionary findings, beginning with the theory of relativity, announced in 1905, and quantum theory, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, followed by his correspondence as a Jew, a leftist, a pacifist and a radical thinker and his written exchanges with prominent colleagues and friends.
Full story from the Taipei Times.

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Benchmark of genius: Einstein theories alive
Sunday, April 17, 2005

He stopped traffic on Fifth Avenue like the Beatles or Marilyn Monroe. He could’ve been president of Israel or played violin at Carnegie Hall, but he was too busy thinking. His musings on God, love and the meaning of life grace our greeting cards and day-timers. Fifty years after his death, his shock of white hair and droopy mustache still symbolize genius.

Who else could it be except Albert Einstein?

Einstein remains the foremost scientist of the modern era. Looking back 2,400 years, only Newton, Galileo and Aristotle were his equals.

Around the world, universities and academies are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s “miracle year” when he published five scientific papers in 1905 that fundamentally changed our grasp of space, time, light and matter. Only he could top himself about a decade later with his theory of general relativity.
Full story from the Journal Gazette.

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Another Einstein? Perhaps not for a very long time
Saturday, April 16, 2005

Will there ever be another Einstein?

This is the undercurrent of conversation at Einstein memorial meetings throughout the year.

A new Einstein will emerge, scientists say. But it may take a long time. After all, more than 200 years separated Einstein from his nearest rival, Isaac Newton.

Many physicists say the next Einstein hasn't been born yet, or is a baby now. That's because the quest for a unified theory that would account for all the forces of nature has pushed current mathematics to its limits. New math must be created before the problem can be solved.

But researchers say there are many other factors working against another Einstein emerging anytime soon.

For one thing, physics is a much different field today. In Einstein's day, there were a few thousand physicists worldwide, and the theoreticians who could intellectually spar with Einstein probably would fit into a streetcar with seats to spare.
Full story from Newsday.com.

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Stamp show to feature Einstein commemoration
Friday, April 15, 2005

A special stamp cancel, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the publication of Albert Einstein's papers, will be available to attendees at the Berkshire Stamp Club's annual stamp show and bourse.

The cancel was designed by two club members and produced under the auspices of the Pittsfield Post Office.
Full story from The Berkshire Eagle.

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Germany reclaims Einstein as their hero
Thursday, April 14, 2005

Suffering from an acute lack of heroes after losing two world wars, Germany has reclaimed Albert Einstein as one of its greatest national figures even though the Jewish physicist fled the Nazis hating his native country.

A century after the German-born scientist formulated his famous theory of relativity in Switzerland, and 50 years after his death on April 18, 1955, Einstein is being reclaimed by the country he rejected.

Celebrations of the so-called "Einstein Year" of 2005 are taking place around the world, but nowhere are the tributes to the man with the droopy eyes and bushy grey hair so laden with historical baggage as in Germany.

The German government has gone all out to latch onto Einstein, who became one of the world's first pop icons after his theories about space, time and relativity revolutionised science in the early 20th century.
Full story from Reuters.

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Einstein's "Year of Wonders," 100 Years Later
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

It has been a hundred years since Albert Einstein's annus mirabilis, or "year of wonders," during which the then-26-year-old government worker wrote a series of papers that revolutionized our understanding of the universe.

To mark the occasion, 2005 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Physics.

There have, of course, been scores of groundbreaking scientific developments since Einstein's time. Yet at its core, science is still operating in the same framework that Einstein laid out a century ago.

"He changed not only science but also the way to go about good science," said Gerald Holton, a physics professor and Einstein scholar at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "He was not trying to find solutions to small problems but to bring all of physics under one roof."
Full story from National Geographic.

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Why Einstein may have got it wrong
Monday, April 11, 2005

A century after Albert Einstein published his most famous ideas, physicists will today commemorate the occasion by trying to demolish one of them.

Astronomers will tell experts gathering at Warwick University to celebrate the anniversary of the great man's "miracle year" that the speed of light - Einstein's unchanging yardstick that underpins his special theory of relativity - might be slowing down.

Michael Murphy, of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University, said: "We are claiming something extraordinary here. The findings suggest there is a more fundamental theory of the way that light and matter interact; and that special relativity, at its foundation, is actually wrong."

Einstein's insistence that the speed of light was always the same set up many of his big ideas and established the bedrock of modern physics.

Dr Murphy said: "It could turn out that special relativity is a very good approximation but it's missing a little bit. That little bit may be the doorknob to a whole new universe and a whole new set of fundamental laws." His team did not measure a change in the speed of light directly. Instead, they analysed flickering light from the far-distant celestial objects called quasars.
Full story from The Guardian.

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Personal Treasure: A Photo of Einstein Lecturing Black Physicists
Monday, April 11, 2005

Commentator Aaron Freeman describes one of his most prized possessions: a photograph of Albert Einstein lecturing at a historically black college in 1946.
Listen to the story on NPR.

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Observing Einstein's gravitational waves
Friday, April 08, 2005

A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein published his theory of relativity. On this occasion, Euronews' Space magazine plunges into the subject of gravitational waves and features the joint ESA-NASA "LISA" mission which hopes to detect them in space.

The existence of gravitational waves stems from Einstein's postulates. When very massive bodies are disturbed, they radiate waves or ripples that travel through space. Objects they encounter vibrate without moving, but as a consequence of the deformation of the space-time texture in which they are at rest.
Full story from ESA Portal.

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Exhibit Focuses on Einstein's Jewishness
Friday, April 08, 2005

A Berlin exhibition organized in the context of the Einstein Year 2005 focuses not on physics, but on the scientist’s personality, his Jewish identity and his life in Berlin.
Full story from Ynetnews.

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One Hundred Years of Uncertainty
Friday, April 08, 2005

Just about a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein began writing a paper that secured his place in the pantheon of humankind's greatest thinkers. With his discovery of special relativity, Einstein upended the familiar, thousands-year-old conception of space and time. To be sure, even a century later, not everyone has fully embraced Einstein's discovery. Nevertheless, say "Einstein" and most everyone thinks "relativity."

What is less widely appreciated, however, is that physicists call 1905 Einstein's "miracle year" not because of the discovery of relativity alone, but because in that year Einstein achieved the unimaginable, writing four papers that each resulted in deep and formative changes to our understanding of the universe. One of these papers - not on relativity - garnered him the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics. It also began a transformation in physics that Einstein found so disquieting that he spent the last 30 years of his life in a determined effort to repudiate it.
Full story from The New York Times.

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In the Year That Celebrates Einstein, Physics Is a "Hot" Major
Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Just in time for the world celebration of physics and its most famous practitioner, Albert Einstein, the University at Buffalo is enjoying a banner year in the discipline.

This semester, the total number of physics majors at UB has jumped to 73, an impressive 82.5 per cent increase over January 2002, when there were just 40.

"Startling, isn't it?" is the happy observation of Michael Fuda, Ph.D., professor and undergraduate director for the Department of Physics in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.

When students sign up as physics majors, Fuda routinely asks, "Why physics?"

"They typically say 'I took it in high school and I liked it,'" says Fuda.
Full story from Newswise.

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Einstein a-go-go
Sunday, April 03, 2005

Many people often wonder what Albert Einstein sounded like. Sure you could read his books and hear stories about the man, but apart from the few times you see him mentioned and featured on TV, it's hard to get a real understanding of the man behind the theory of relativity.

Now, 100 years since he wrote about the theory of relativity and 50 years after his death, the British Library has released a fascinating CD of some of his speeches including two that took place in London during the 1930s.
Full story from SomethingJewish.

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How Einstein explored the light fantastic
Saturday, April 02, 2005

I showed last week how Isaac Newton developed laws of motion that allowed a materialist picture of the universe to emerge. This materialism was of a mechanical kind — with matter interacting like parts in a giant clockwork mechanism set into motion by god.

This view of nature began to break down from the late 18th century. A number of important discoveries — from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to new theories about the origin of the solar system — showed that nature had a history and had evolved.

And, as the industrial revolution got into full swing, new technologies, especially the steam engine, required a new understanding of physics.

Scientists saw how heat energy could be transformed into motion in the piston of a steam engine, giving a more fluid picture of nature than Newton’s vision.

They began to develop the idea that gases, and all matter, could be collections of tiny particles — and that the temperature of matter reflects the motion of these particles.
Full story from Socialist Worker Online.

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Einstein A to Z * Karen C. Fox and Aries Keck
Wiley publishing * Publication date: August 2004 * ISBN: 0-471-46674-3 * $17.95 paperback * 300 pp