ALBERT EINSTEIN-MATHEMATICIAN, PHYSICIST, MUSICIAN,GENIUS
On Saturday, March 14, it was his 135th birthday, and the celebration of one of, if not the most intelligent men the world has ever known. His theories of quantum physics have caused a revolution in science, and our understanding of the universe. He has inspired scientists such as Steven Hawkings, and other well known physicists.
Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany, under rule of the German Empire, on March 14, 1879. His father was Herman Einstein, a salesman and engineer, and Pauline Koch. In 1880, the family moved to Munich, where his father and uncle opened a company that manufactured Direct Current electrical equipment. Albert attended a Catholic elementary school from 5-8 yrs old. At 8, he was transferred to Luitpoid Gymnasium, where he received advanced primary and secondary school education, until he left Germany at 15. In 1894, his father’s company failed, and the family moved to Italy. In 1895, at age 16, he failed the exam standard, but obtained exceptional grades in physics and math. He attended the Argonian school in Aarau, Switzerland to complete secondary school, and in 1896, he passed the Swiss Matura with 6 out of 6 in physics and math. At 17, he enrolled in a four year math and physics teaching program at Zurich Polytechnic, where he would meet his future wife, Mileva Moric. In 1900, Einstein was awarded the Zurich Polytechnic Teaching Diploma.
In 1903, Mileva and Albert were married, and had two sons, Hans Albert and Eluard. In 1914, they separated; Albert moved to Berlin, and Mileva stayed in Zurich with their two sons. He married his first cousin, Elsa Lowenthal in June 1919. In 1933, they emigrated to the United States. She died from heart and kidney failure in December 1934.
In the beginning of his career, he thought that Newton’s Law of Gravity didn’t explain the interaction between mechanics and the laws of the electromagnetic field, and that other forces also had to come into play. To solve this problem of quantum mechanics, he came up with several theories, including particle theory, and the motion of molecules, and the photon light theory, which eventually led to his theory of relativity. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, but was never able to get the prize for his theory of relativity, due to the mounting tension against the German Jewish community. He visited the United States in 1933, Hitler came into power, and being Jewish, felt it was best not to return. He became a citizen in 1940.
On the eve of WWII, he endorsed a letter to Franklin D Roosevelt, alerting him to the deadly potential and development of extremely powerful bombs of a new type, and recommended development of them in the US. Although he detested the idea of using nuclear fission as a weapon, he also saw where the German and Russian governments were heading. Later he signed the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, emphasizing the danger of nuclear weapons.
Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers, along with 150 non-scientific works. He was more than just a scientist. He was a musician, having learned piano at age 5, and violin at age 13. He was an inventor, having filed several patents for various devices, a supporter of civil rights and Zionist causes, belonged to NAACP, and was a great humanitarian. Some other well known facts were that he was rather popular with the women, didn’t wear socks, and was right handed. His IQ was not the highest, at 190, but is in the top 10.
On April 17th, 1955, Albert Einstein died at age 76 from an abdominal aoritic aneurysm. His brain was removed and dissected for scientific research to discover why he was so intelligent. It was discovered that the lobe used for hypothetical and mathematical reasoning was 15 % larger in his brain than normal people. Modern science has found that this is common with people who have extremely high IQ’s.
Tomorrow, we will feature his Theory of Relativity, and what it has do with our everyday life. Until then, here are today’s links:
E=MC² is one, if not the most famous equation in the history of science, and is still being debated today. If for some reason, you were never told what it meant, it is Energy=mass x the speed of light squared. This is basically means that matter cannot exceed the speed of light, light being the constant in the equation, and that the faster an object moves, the more massive it becomes, until the mass itself becomes energy.
The Theory of relativity is divided into two parts; Special relativity and General relativity. In Special relativity, the laws of physics are the same for all observers in uniform motion relative to one another. This suggests that if someone is walking one way, and another is walking the opposite way at the same speed, the world is perceived the same by either person. The other part of the theory is that the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers regardless of their relative motion or the motion of the light source. The consequences of the theory are as follows:
1. Relativity of Simultaneity-Two events, simultaneous for one observer may not be for another observer if the observer is in motion. (Ex-Watching lightning from a thunderstorm while moving in a car.)
2. Time dilation- Moving clocks are measured to tick more slowly than an observer’s stationary clock. (ex-A watch vs. a wall clock.)ivi
3. Mass of an object is equal to energy forced on mass. E=MC²
4. Length Contraction-Objects are measured to be shortened in the direction that they are moving with respect to the observer. (ex-Watching a moving car while standing still. Object is shorter as it moves farther away.)
5. Maximum Speed is finite. Nothing can move faster than light in a vacuum.
In General relativity, which is the theory of gravitation, the accelerated motion and being at rest in a gravitational field are the same. Einstein resolved this issue by proposing that there is a curvature in space time itself. The consequences of this theory is as follows:
1. Clocks run slower when influenced by strong magnetic fields and gravitational wells.
2. Orbits precess in a way unexpected in Newton’s theory of gravity.
3. Rays of light bend in the presence of a strong gravitational field.
4. Rotating masses drag along the space time around them in a process known as “frame dragging.”
5. The universe is expanding, and the far parts of it are moving away from us faster than the speed of light.
As complicated as all that might sound, it is really pretty basic. Objects are influenced by the energy that drives them, and the gravitational field that’s place upon them. If we had no iron core in the center of our planet, there would be no magnetic field, and we would only be influenced by the sun’s gravity. Planets like Mercury and Mars have weak magnetic cores, and thus have little gravity on them, as well. Gravity is essential to our well being; without it ,our muscles break down. This is one of the many challenges we face in long term space travel.
Examples of the bent light theory can be seen in the form of a rainbow; the light is bent into different color spectrums, or the Aurora Boreilis, in Northern latitudes. Einstein’s theories have helped us understand how our solar system and universe works, and why some extraterrestrial bodies have stronger gravitational fields than others.
One area that had him confused, however, was the area of black holes. His theory suggested that they could exist, but he had no proof. This puzzled him for years, and he could never fully understand it. With the help of technological advances in astronomy, we now know that he was right about the existence of these strange gravitational forces that suck everything up including light itself.
Tomorrow, we will look into these strange fields, and into what happens when light speed is achieved. Until tomorrow, here are today’s links:
BLACK HOLES, WORMHOLES, AND FASTER THAN LIGHT TRAVEL: BREAKDOWN OF THE LAWS OF PHYSICS
Einstein himself didn’t believe in the existence of black holes, even though his theory allowed the possibility. We now know that they do exist and are essential for the stability of the universe. A black hole is a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, not even light can escape. Their mere existence is a contradiction of the laws of physics, but we have have also found that on a smaller scale, they do make sense. We see it everyday on black pavement. The light doesn’t reflect or pass through it, it is absorbed by the pavement.
Einstein wasn’t the first to discover this ; Max Planck and other theoretical physicists came up with these assumptions over two decades before him. What makes black holes different is that there is a gravitational force within them stronger than anything in the known universe, even large red giant stars. These are star-killers, eating everything in their path, but their gravity is what fuels the entire galaxy, and keeps space from expanding at an alarming rate. Galaxies are bound together by them, and there is one at the center of every one of them.
Einstein’s theory also allowed the possible existence of wormholes or bridges through space and time called Einstein-Rosen Bridges. These are also called white holes. A physicist named Schwartzchild theorized that if Black holes that pull in light did exist, then White holes that repel light must also exist, and that they must exit in another region of space time. Wormholes, my novel included, have become a staple of science fiction, but is it really possible to pass through them?
First of all, anything that enters a black hole is immediately sucked in by gravity which breaks down all matter. Unless something is used to stabilize the singularity, such as exotic or dark matter, the bridge will not hold. Such an amount of energy is unfathomable for today’s scientists, and even though the idea is tantalizing, it is eons from our grasp. Even traveling close to the speed of light, it would only keep you from entering it, and not allow you to pass through it without being ripped to shreds. In my novel, they use the particle accelerators or wormhole generators using dark energy to stabilize the wormhole, and the energy of a sun to power the generators.
What did Einstein think about faster than light travel? Actually, he knew that by his equations, it would be impossible. He surmised that nothing could go faster than light except space time itself. If it were possible to fold space time, however, as a fabric or a piece of paper, it would be entirely feasible to pass through a bridge to another part of the universe in a considerably shorter time. He also theorized that if one could travel at the speed, time would slow down. If you left for Alpha Centuri, and traveled at the speed of light, it would take eight years to get there and back, but the astronaut would have only aged a month.
That is presuming that one can travel at the speed of light. Physicists believe that the only way to achieve this is to warp space time itself, as in warp drives. It warps the space around the vessel, allowing the space in front of it to expand, and the space behind it to contract. The observer would experience a Doppler effect, with the stars in front of the craft appearing blue and in a tunnel, and the stars behind appearing red and expanding. Assuming this were possible, there would still be other obstacles in space itself that would lead to our travelers’ device. So far, the only known particle that can move faster than light are neutrinos.
Tomorrow, we will discuss how particle accelerators, satellite global positioning systems and quantum computers work, and their relation to Einstein’s theories. Until then, here are today’s links:
PARTICLE ACCELERATORS, GPS SYSTEMS, & QUANTUM COMPUTERS
In Terminator III, the opposing cyborg runs after John Conner through a large particle accelerator, or collider, and once it turns on, its powerful magnet sucks the cyborg to its surface, until she cuts a hole through it to escape. Particle accelerators are not new, they have existed since the early fifties in the form of a Cathode Ray tube, which was used in the first television sets. What it does is use electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to high speeds and contain them in well defined beams. There are more than 30,000 of these devices in operation, and are one of the many devices that are the result of Albert Einstein’s theories of quantum physics. There are two kinds of Accelerators:
A.)Electrostatic- These are based on old style accelerators, using static electromagnetic fields to accelerate particles.
B.)Oscillating- Uses radio frequency electromagnetic fields to accelerate particles. ex-X-ray generators.
Larger forms include colliders, like the Haydron CERN collider, and are used for a variety of applications, such as the synchronization of light sources in the study of condensed matter, charging particles such as leptons, quarks, photons, and gluons to test predictions of theories of particle physics, to prove or disprove the existence of the Higgs-Boson partciles, and to produce small amounts of anti-matter.
Global Positioning Systems(GPS) are space based satellite navigational systems that provide location and time information in all weather conditions, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. They are run by very stable atomic clocks that are synchronized with another and always transmit their time and positions. They are orbiting the Earth at 12,600-16,500 miles above it, and orbit twice a day, held in orbit by orbital rocket systems similar to ion propulsion.
GPS uses the theory of relativity by using radio signals to compensate the time variation between general relativity, where time will appear to run slower under gravitational pull of Earth, and special relativity that predicts that moving clocks are more relative to the clocks on Earth, and run slower. GPS systems are used in Global mapping, military operations, TV satellites and various other applications that require information to be passed at the speed of light.
Quantum computers are devices which use the principles of quantum physics to increase the computational power beyond what a traditional computer is capable of. Regular computers work by using a binary format, which result in a series of 1’s and 0’s in electronic components known as transistors. Quantum computers store information as either, or both, and allows greater flexibility than a binary system. One of the unusual aspects of quantum computers is that they have to be kept extremely cold, even colder than space itself, at -459º. They are stored in Liquid Nitrogen, one the coldest known gases. Physicists believe quantum computers are the key to development of true artificial intelligence.
Einstein’s theories have helped us to produce a world where anything is possible, and someday even the impossible may become reality. Quantum physics is still a relatively new area of science, and there is still a lot that we have to learn. If the large production of antimatter is someday possible, it could revolutionize space travel as we know it.
Tomorrow, we will close our series of Einstein and his theories by investigating the future of quantum physics and its applications. How far will it take us, and how far are we willing to go to achieve our tasks? Tune in tomorrow to find out. Until then, here are today’s links:
THE FUTURE OF QUANTUM PHYSICS
Today we will end this week’s series by exploring future applications for quantum physics. We have already discussed particle accelerators, quantum computers, and GPS systems, but are these the only applications using quantum theory? What projects are scientists working to change the future using quantum physics?
One of the properties of quantum physics is the fact that light acts both as a wave and a particle. This dual nature can be used to power solar technology. Mirrors and lenses concentrate light waves, and collide with electrons in a particle-like way, freezing the electrons to create an electric current. Another use of light waves is in light emitting diodes, or LED’s, which are much more efficient than compact fluorescents, and lasers that are used in medical and military operations. A relatively new area are cloaking systems, which bend light around an object using mirrors, to make an object appear invisible. Ma-Lev trains use electromagnetism to propel them down a rail using levitation.
Other applications include ultra-thin sound proof walls, quantum cryptography, teleportation devices, space elevators, quantum energy, nanotechnology, and even time travel. Fusion reactors may one day be more efficient and safer than the current fission plants used today.
Another big area is space travel. Fusion and Antimatter based propulsion systems may one day take us beyond our solar neighborhood, and onto other star systems. The future is not yet written, and the possibilities are limitless. It all started with the idea that maybe our world is more and less complicated than we think. Einstein himself was amazed at how easy his equation was; he expected it to be much more advanced physics. We are grateful for his contribution to the world of science, and helping us understand how the universe works.
Next week, I will be back with another series. Until then, have a good weekend. Here are today’s links: