Einstein is considered the greatest theoretician, along with Isaac Newton, the father of classical mechanics. His name became synonymous with genius. He gained worldwide fame in the first quarter of the 20th century thanks to the theory of relativity he developed
Professor Asher Yaholum, Ariel University in Samaria
Albert Einstein (in German: Albert Einstein March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) was a Jewish-German physicist, one of the greatest scientists of all time. As a philosopher and a philosopher of science he was a follower of Spinoza's philosophy which saw a unity between nature and God.
Einstein is considered the greatest theoretician, along with Isaac Newton, the father of classical mechanics. His name became synonymous with genius. He gained worldwide publicity in the first quarter of the 20th century thanks to the theory of relativity he developed (special relativity and general relativity), which changed what was known until then about the nature of time, space, mass, motion and gravity. He was also known for his contributions to the fields of quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics and the explanation of the photoelectric effect. For his unique contribution to the latter subject, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.
Besides his decisive part in the development of the fields of science, he also spoke out and acted on current issues and was a passionate socialist and Zionist. Among other things, he worked together with his friend Haim Weizman to collect donations for Zionism during his travels in the United States and even actively worked for the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and served as the chairman of its academic council. In 1932, before the Nazis came to power and due to the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany and in particular the German physics movement that came out against Einstein, he moved to live and teach in the United States. Although he defined himself as a pacifist, Einstein signed the Einstein-Szilard letter written to President Roosevelt encouraging the development of nuclear weapons in the United States before Nazi Germany reached this capability. However, after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Einstein was one of the main speakers who called for the banning of nuclear weapons, and even established the "Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists" for this purpose.
Einstein rejected David Ben-Gurion's offer to serve as the country's president after Weizmann's death, at the same time in his will he ordered to bequeath all his writings to the Hebrew University.
his life story
Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in the city of Ulm, which was in the province of Württemberg in the German Empire (now the state of Baden-Württemberg), to a Jewish family - his mother Paulina née Koch, and his father Herman, who owned a small electrochemical factory that failed in business (the Einstein family was an assimilated Jewish family that used names Germans and you have to go back several generations in the family tree to find Jewish names there). Six weeks after his birth, his family moved to Munich in Bavaria due to his father's business. At the age of five he fell ill, and to make his heart happy his father fixed a simple compass for him. Even then, as he recounted years later, he began to explore the north of the laws of nature. In the fall of 1885, he began studying at a Catholic public school, as the only Jewish child in his class, and also began to learn to play the violin, at the same time he received a Jewish education at home.
In high school he excelled in mathematics and physics, but not in other subjects, because he was forced to study them with methods that were not to his liking, especially in Latin. His Latin teacher predicted that "this plant will never make flour". Einstein later said that it was a real miracle that the education regime was not able to completely displace his curiosity. In 1895, his family moved to Milan, and after a short stay, Einstein moved to study at the cantonal school in Barau, Switzerland. In 1896 he renounced his German citizenship due to his abhorrence of the German militaristic mentality. At the same time, he also began developing thought experiments in which he imagined different situations and their physical consequences.
He completed his academic studies as a graduate of the Zurich ETH Institute of Technology (between 1896-1900). One of his supporters, Herman Minkowski, who resented Einstein's demonstrated indifference, called him a "lazy dog" (he later retracted the statement, and was a supporter of the idea of the theory of relativity at its inception and played a decisive role in shaping the concept of space-time arising from the theory of relativity). Upon receiving Swiss citizenship in 1901, Einstein began working at the government patent office in Bern, the capital, from 1902 to 1908, initially as a third-rate technical expert. In 1906 he received his doctor's degree from the University of Zurich, and was promoted in the patent office to the rank of second-rate technical expert. In 1909 he competed for the position of professor of physics at the university against his friend Friedrich Adler who was accepted for the position, but gave it up in favor of Einstein.
When Einstein was a sophomore studying mathematics and physics, he heard about the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment, in which it was proven that the speed of light does not change, despite the change in the relative motion of the earth towards the "ether" - the imaginary medium in which, as they assumed at the time, the waves vibrate and progress Electromagnetics According to the prevailing opinion in those days among the scientific community, one of the factors that led Einstein to develop the special theory of relativity was the inability of Michaelson and Morley to measure changes in the speed of light in relation to the movement of the earth within the "ether". Another factor was the difference in Maxwell's equations (the electromagnetic equations developed by Maxwell in the mid-nineteenth century) for two observers moving at a constant speed relative to each other (which contradicted the view that the laws of nature do not depend on the observer). Einstein had two choices to adapt the theory of electromagnetism to the symmetry properties of classical mechanics or to adapt classical mechanics to the symmetry properties of Maxwell's equations, Einstein chose the second option, and thus was born the special theory of relativity which he presented in his 1905 paper. In the years 1902-1905, a learning group gathered around Einstein which he called the "Olympia Academy", which included a number of close acquaintances, and was also attended by his first wife Mileva Marich. This group clearly dealt with diverse issues from the world of philosophy, mathematics and physics, among them the preoccupation with Riemann's non-Euclidean geometry, as well as the philosophical thought of Spinoza and Ernst Mach. To a large extent, the discussions in this group were used as a conceptual and philosophical basis, upon which Einstein's various breakthroughs were built in the following years.
The Year of Wonders
In 1905 (Year of Miracles - Annus Mirabilis) Einstein published four articles in the Annalen der Physik, the most important scientific journal for physics at that time. These articles are considered cornerstones of modern physics, which changed the concepts that were accepted until then regarding the connections between space, time and matter:
- "On the movement required by the molecular kinetic theory of heat and of small particles staying on the surface of a liquid at rest" (Über die von der molecularkinetischen Theorie der Wärme geforfente Bewegung von in ruhenden Flüssigkeiten suspendierten Teilchen) - this article explained the movement of gases and dust particles floating in a liquid, a phenomenon known as Brownian motion. The article was an important contribution to the physical field of statistical mechanics and strengthened the belief about the existence of atoms, when at that time many considered them a purely theoretical fiction.
- • "On a heuristic point of view in the production and transmission of light" (Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes berettenden heuristicschen Gesichtspunkt) - in this article Einstein presented the quantization of light (that is, of electromagnetic radiation) and its division into discrete energy packets, which behave like particles - in contrast to the wave theory of light, which dominated in those days (but in accordance with Newton's original conception of the essence of light). Einstein deduced this partly on the basis of Max Planck's article on black body radiation, Max Planck became Einstein's solution in German science. Although it was a secondary part of the article, the main part of his publication came from explaining the photoelectric effect discovered in the Frank-Hertz experiment, in which a metal emits electrons only when light above a certain threshold frequency is irradiated on it. Einstein explained this by claiming that light energy comes in discrete portions, "quanta", which are carried by photons - massless particles of electromagnetic energy - and that the energy each photon carries is proportional to its frequency. Together with Max Planck's paper relating to black body radiation, this paper formed the basis of quantum mechanics and the concept of wave-particle duality of light. For this article, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.
- "On the electrodynamics of moving bodies" (Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper) - in this article Einstein presented the special theory of relativity. Until then, only Newton's theory of mechanics, according to which time progresses equally at every point in the universe, was accepted in theoretical physics. However, experiments conducted in the 19th century revealed that the behavior of light differs from conventional predictions, and the theory that had dominated physics until then began to be undermined. As hinted at in the title of the article, the first goal of the theory of relativity was to resolve the contradiction in the electromagnetic theory, more precisely the one that arises from the Lorentz force where there is a reference to the speed of the particle, when it is not clear exactly what speed is involved (that is, in relation to which system it is measured). It follows that, in different reference systems - a different magnetic force acts on the particle and it will develop a different acceleration. Even before Einstein, a Dutch physicist named Lorenz developed transformations between reference systems that solve the problem, but they were empirically "tailored" especially for this problem. Einstein's approach was much more radical: he redefined what time is and what space is, using two postulates: one, the lack of change in the speed of light in relation to different observers moving at a constant speed relative to each other, that is: every observer, in any frame of reference, will measure a constant speed of light : cEven if he moves towards the light source and even if he moves away from it; The second, keeping all the laws of physics under all inertial reference systems. Einstein showed how it is possible to derive the Lorentz transformation that binds space and time together (the presentation of space-time as a 4-dimensional space was made by Einstein's teacher, the Jewish mathematician Herman Minkowski). The special theory of relativity was revolutionary because it changed all existing concepts about time and space. Examples: two events that happen at the same time (simultaneously) in one system, do not necessarily happen at the same time in another reference system; The lengthening of time and the shortening of the length of a moving body, for different observers and more.
- "Does the inertia of a body depend on its energy content?" (Ist die Trägheit eines Körpers von seinem Energiegehalt abhängig?) - In this article, Einstein established the equivalence between mass and energy as a conclusion of the special theory of relativity, and thereby established, in fact, that the law of conservation of mass and the law of conservation of energy are two sides of the same coin. The most popular and shortest summary of this article is the well-known equation E=mc² (energy equals mass times the speed of light squared).
The formula is useful in understanding various nuclear processes including the fission of uranium and the fusion of hydrogen, both related to the production of nuclear energy and atomic weapons.
On April 30, 1905, Einstein presented at the University of Zurich his doctoral thesis, "Redetermination of Molecular Dimensions" (Eine neue Bestimmung der Molekuledimensionen), which was written under the guidance of Alfred Kleiner. On January 15, 1906, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the University Senate.
In the years that followed, Einstein tried to get an academic position, but despite his achievements, he refused. In the museum of the city of Bern, about half of which is dedicated to Einstein's life and work, a letter of refusal to Einstein's request to be appointed a teacher from abroad at the University of Bern was found and bears a date from 1907, that is, two years after the publication of the special theory of relativity.
In 1909, Einstein was appointed associate professor of theoretical physics at the University of Zurich. In 1911 he was also appointed a professor at Charles University in Prague. In 1912 he returned to the Higher Polytechnic School of Zurich, this time as a full professor. In 1914 he was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics at the Humboldt University in Berlin (thanks to the intervention of Max Planck). Upon joining the university he returned to Germany and lived in Berlin. Then he was also elected a member of the Prussian State Academy of Sciences and was given a salary without any teaching obligation, so that he could devote all his time and energy to research. In these years Einstein became a German citizen again.
Einstein also concluded and decreed that the curvature of space at a certain point is directly proportional to the density of mass and energy at that point. He expressed his results in the mathematical language developed by the mathematician Riemann.
Einstein's theory of general relativity had a number of predictions that differed from those of classical mechanics and Newton's theory of gravitation. Some of them:
• The spread of a gravitational field in space is not instantaneous, but is limited to the speed of light.
• Mass distorts and warps space, so that the geodesy (the shortest path between two points) between any two points is also curved, and gravity is nothing more than a simulated force caused by the aspiration of each body to move along the shortest path possible for it in curved space-time.
• A conclusion from the previous idea is that the degree of deviation of a light beam from a straight path under the influence of a given mass will be twice as expected according to Newton's laws, while causing a stronger "gravitational lensing".
• Corrections in relation to the theoretical orbit of the planet Hema (Mercury), which until that time was different from what was obtained in the observations.
His philosophical views
The issue of determinism (meaning is everything predetermined?) and science, in which Einstein even referred to God, raised the question of his position regarding his faith. His student Moshe Yamer studied Einstein's positions on this subject and summarized them in the book "Einstein and Religion".
In Einstein's letter to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein in 1929, he said: "I believe in the God of Spinoza, who reveals himself in the harmony and laws of nature, and not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of human beings." When asked if he is a pantheist, he replied: "I am not an atheist. I don't know if I can define myself as a pantheist. The problem involved is too huge for our limited minds. May I answer with a parable? The human mind, however trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a small child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different languages. The child knows that someone must have written these books. He does not know who or how. He does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notices a clear plan in the arrangement of the books - a mysterious order, the nature of which he cannot understand, but can hardly suspect. This, as it seems to me, is the approach of the human mind, even the greatest and most civilized, towards God. We see a wonderfully ordered universe, operating according to certain laws, but we hardly understand them. Our limited minds are unable to grasp the mysterious force that drives the star clusters. I am fascinated by Spinoza's pantheism. Even more than that I admire his contribution to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of the modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who treated the mind and body as one entity, not as two separate things."
In 1930 he published an article in the New York Times entitled "Religion and Science" in which he discussed three styles of religion. In primitive man, "it was mainly fear that inspired religious ideas - fear of hunger, of prey animals, of disease and death." Since human understanding of causal relationships was still undeveloped, the mind created supernatural beings who were worshiped by making sacrifices and making offerings. Einstein called this first stage in the development of religion "the religion of fear." The next stage in the development of religion, according to Einstein's method, is the "social or moral concept of God", which stems from the "longing for guidance, love and support". God is a factor that rewards and punishes, comforts in times of distress and preserves the souls of the dead. The Bible and the New Testament provide Einstein with an admirable example of a transition from the religion of fear to the gradual birth of the religion of morality, which is still attached to an anthropomorphic (manish) conception of God. The third stage of the religious experience, which Einstein calls "the cosmic religious feeling", is "a situation that is very difficult to describe clearly... for those who lack it completely, mainly because there is no anthropomorphic conception of God that suits him". Einstein considered himself religious in the third sense, or in his words: "My religion consists of submissive adoration, for the unlimited Supreme Spirit, which reveals itself in trivial details, which we are able to grasp with our fragile and weak minds. This deep conviction in the presence of a superior intelligent power, revealed in a universe that cannot be understood, is the ideal of my God."
Einstein abhorred that people try to associate him with one camp or another on matters of faith. Not to the atheist camp: "You can call me an agnostic, but I do not share the fighting spirit of the atheists, whose enthusiasm stems mainly from the painful act of freeing themselves from the shackles of the religious preaching they received in their youth", and he asserted: "...there are still people who say there is no God, but what really angers me He that those people quote me in order to support their position", but he also did not spare his tribe from the sides of providence who tried to attribute it to mechanim: "What you read about my religious faith was, of course, a lie - a lie that is systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal deity and I have never denied it, but I have expressed it clearly. If there is anything in me that can be called religious, it is an unlimited admiration for the structure of the world as far as our science can reveal it."
Einstein was a humble man in his ways and was content with little. The Rabbi used his publication to promote public goals such as peace between nations and brotherhood between mankind. He was endowed with a subtle sense of humor and was liked by his listeners. Despite the complexity of his teachings, he knew how to clarify with examples that are equal to every soul. The theories he put forward completely undermined traditional physics when it came to very tiny masses or very high speed motion. He brought about a real revolution in scientific research, and fundamentally changed the world view of all humanity. Until his last day, he believed in the existence of one comprehensive Torah that would contain within it all the basic laws governing nature, from the electron to the universe itself - the theory of everything, but in the end he was unable to formulate this theory. Even in his last years, he did not stop engaging in physical research, and he published his last article with his research assistant Broria Kaufman, in January 1955.
 Asher Yahalom "Lorentz Symmetry Group, Retardation, Intergalactic Mass Depletion and Mechanisms Leading to Galactic Rotation Curves" Symmetry 2020, 12(10), 1693; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12101693 https://arxiv.org/abs/2012.04490
More of the topic in Hayadan:
- Conceive and be free - Carl Sagan on Einstein
- The chapter The Origins of Genius from "Einstein's Big Mistake - The Life of an Imperfect Genius" by David Bodanis
- What does the Talmud have to say about Einstein?
- Save Einstein
- Einstein - the husband, father and lover
- One Handshake to Albert Einstein: The Story of Professor Nathan Rosen and the Jewish Scientists in the Soviet Union