Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics).[1][2] Einstein's work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science.[3][4] Einstein is best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula E=mc squared (which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation").[5] He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his "services to theoretical physics", in particular his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory.[6]

Career

Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on general relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the large-scale structure of the universe.[6][7]

He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and, being Jewish, did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He settled in the U.S., becoming an American citizen in 1940.[8] On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of "extremely powerful bombs of a new type" and recommending that the U.S. begin similar research. This eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced the idea of using the newly discovered nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, with the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.

Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works.[6][9]. His non-scientific works include: About Zionism: Speeches and Lectures by Professor Albert Einstein (1930), "Why War?" (1933, co-authored by Sigmund Freud), The World As I See It (1934), Out of My Later Years (1950), and a book on science for the general reader, The Evolution of Physics (1938, co-authored by Leopold Infeld). On 5 December 2014, universities and archives announced the release of Einstein's papers, comprising more than 30,000 unique documents.[10] Einstein's intellectual achievements and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with "genius".[11] To this day, Einstein still remains as one of the most popular and well-known scientists.

Autistic

Einstein is held by many to be on the Autistic spectrum, in particular having Asperger syndrome according to researchers at Cambridge and Oxford Universities.[12] As a child, Einstein was slow to talk,[13] although the actually age he started talking is unclear. He was a loner, and repeated sentences obsessively until he was seven years old.[14]

Einstein was very intelligent and yet he found his language difficult at times. Delayed speech development is a hallmark of the Autistic Spectrum.[15] He had difficulty with social interactions, had tactile sensitivity, and had learning difficulties at school - likely because he did not have the accommodations and different teaching styles that many Autistic children needed.[16] Einstein had little interest in the other children's activities, preferring books, playing the violin, working on puzzles and tricky math problems, and constructing elaborate houses out of cards, and "crazy" constructions from building blocks.[17] Arranging building blocks is typically Autistic, as is not joining in the activities of his peers. Einstein was also reported to always wear different variations of the same grey suit[18] and did not wear socks, likely due to sensory issues.[19]

In the article ‘Singular Scientists’ that was published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Ioan James mentioned that Einstein displayed a lot of signs of autism. He has been described a lonely and dreamy child who had difficulty in making friends. James also noted the lack of social skills, as well as Einstein being obsessed and forgetful when he was young.[20] His love of music appears to be the level of an Autistic special interest.[21]

Tony Attwood and Michael Fitzgerald also expressed opinions that Einstein was on the Spectrum.[22] Fitzgerald relies on accounts from others that Einstein and other genius' as loners, difficult and very focused for a long time on a single problem to the exclusion of other views.[23] No one has specifically contradicted these reports with any authority.

After his death, Einstein's brain was removed from his body and saved for scientific purposes. Studies of his brain show that it is larger than the typical brain and has structural abnormalities in particular with abstract thought.[24]

References

  1. E. T. Whittaker 10.1098/rsbm.1955.0005 Albert Einstein. 1879–1955 Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society Volume 1 Pages 37–67 1 November 1955
  2. Fujia Yang & Joseph H. Hamilton Modern Atomic and Nuclear Physics 2010 World Scientific 978-981-4277-16-7
  3. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/einstein-philscience/#IntWasEinEpiOpp Einstein's Philosophy of Science
  4. http://www3.nd.edu/~dhoward1/vol58no12p34_40.pdf Einstein as a Philosopher of Science
  5. David Bodanis A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2011/advanced-physicsprize2011.pdf Scientific Background on the Nobel Prize in Physics 2011. The accelerating universe
  7. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/24/science/a-century-ago-einsteins-theory-of-relativity-changed-everything.html?_r=0 A Century Ago, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity Changed Everything
  8. https://books.google.com/books?id=SgtyKzBes6QC&pg=PA218 The Oxford Companion to United States History
  9. Paul Arthur Schilpp 1951 Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist Volume II Pages 730–746
  10. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/science/huge-trove-of-albert-einstein-documents-becomes-available-online.html Thousands of Einstein Documents Are Now a Click Away
  11. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=Einstein Result of WordNet Search for Einstein
  12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2988647.stm
  13. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/abert-einstein-facts_n_3987801?ri18n=true
  14. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3676-einstein-and-newton-showed-signs-of-autism/
  15. https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisedu.org/was-albert-einstein-autistic/
  16. http://autismmythbusters.com/general-public/famous-autistic-people/
  17. https://www.hwns.com.au/about-us/blog/did-einstein-have-autism/
  18. https://medium.com/publishous/einstein-rarely-changed-his-clothes-82611052c41c
  19. https://books.google.com/books?id=pAXxAAAAMAAJ&q=When+I+was+young+I+found+out+that+the+big+toe+always+ends+up+making+a+hole+in+a+sock.+So+I+stopped+wearing+socks.%22&dq=When+I+was+young+I+found+out+that+the+big+toe+always+ends+up+making+a+hole+in+a+sock.+So+I+stopped+wearing+socks.%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7s6iRwrbgAhWMMd8KHSllA1AQ6AEIVDAI
  20. http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/6-historical-geniuses-with-autism/
  21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#Love_of_music
  22. http://www.autism-help.org/points-%20aspergers-einstein-newton.htm
  23. https://www.spectrumnews.org/opinion/did-einstein-have-autism/
  24. https://earthsky.org/human-world/einsteins-brain-was-different-from-other-peoples
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