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Reflections: Einstein

21 April 2017

“Remember your humanity and forget the rest”

Born in Ulm, a city in Württemberg, Germany, in 1879, Albert Einstein had a passion for inquiry that eventually led him to develop the special and general theories of relativity. He is especially known for developing the world’s most famous equation, E=mc2.

In 1921, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “services to theoretical physics”, particularly his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, which was key to the evolution of quantum theory. He immigrated to the US during Adolf Hitler’s reign after he was targeted by Nazis for being Jewish. In 1940 he officially became a US citizen. Einstein kick-started the Manhattan Project when he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the eve of World War II alerting him to the development of a new and powerful type of bomb, and recommending that the US begin similar research. Einstein is generally considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century. His work also had a major impact on the development of atomic energy.

After focusing on unified-field theory during his later years, Einstein died on April 18, 1955, in Princeton, New Jersey, where he had been affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study. During his academic career, Einstein published more than 300 scientific and 150 non-scientific papers.