Albert Einstien Essay Research Paper Men and — страница 2

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describing the motion of an electron in fact could describe the nonaccelerated motion of any particle or any suitably defined rigid body. He based his new kinematics on a reinterpretation of the classical principle of relativity, that the laws of physics had to have the same form in any frame of reference. As a second fundamental hypothesis, Einstein assumed that the speed of light remained constant in all frames of reference, as required by classical Maxwellian theory. Einstein abandoned the hypothesis of the ether, for it played no role in his kinematics or in his reinterpretation of Lorentz’s theory of electrons. As a consequence of his theory Einstein recovered the phenomenon of time dilatation, wherein time, analogous to length and mass, is a function of the velocity of a

frame of reference. Later in 1905, Einstein elaborated how, in a certain manner of speaking, mass and energy were equivalent. Einstein was not the first to propose all the elements that went into the special theory of relativity; his contribution lies in having unified important parts of classical mechanics and Maxwellian electrodynamics. The third of Einstein’s seminal papers of 1905 concerned statistical mechanics, a field of study that had been elaborated by, among others, Ludwig Boltzmann and Josiah Willard Gibbs. Unaware of Gibbs’ contributions, Einstein extended Boltzmann’s work and calculated the average trajectory of a microscopic particle buffeted by random collisions with molecules in a fluid or in a gas. Einstein observed that his calculations could account for

brownian motion, the apparently erratic movement of pollen in fluids, which had been noted by the British botanist Robert Brown. Einstein’s paper provided convincing evidence for the physical existence of atom-sized molecules, which had already received much theoretical discussion. His results were independently discovered by the Polish physicist Marian von Smoluchowski and later elaborated by the French physicist Jean Perrin. ( General Theory of Relativity After 1905, Einstein continued working in all three of his works in the 1905 Papers. He made important contributions to the quantum theory, but increasingly he sought to extend the special theory of relativity to phenomena involving acceleration. The key to an elaboration

emerged in 1907 with the principle of equivalence, in which gravitational acceleration was held a priori indistinguishable from acceleration caused by mechanical forces; gravitational mass was therefore identical with inertial mass. Einstein elevated this identity, which is implicit in the work of Isaac Newton, to a guiding principle in his attempts to explain both electromagnetic and gravitational acceleration according to one set of physical laws. In 1907 he proposed that if mass were equivalent to energy, then the principle of equivalency required that gravitational mass would interact with the apparent mass of electromagnetic radiation, which includes light. By 1911, Einstein was able to make preliminary predictions about how a ray of light from a distant star, passing near

the Sun, would appear to be attracted, or bent slightly, in the direction of the Sun’s mass. At the same time, light radiated from the Sun would interact with the Sun’s mass, resulting in a slight change toward the infrared end of the Sun’s optical range. At this turning point Einstein also knew that any new theory of gravitation would have to account for a small but persistent anomaly in the perihelion motion of the planet Mercury. About 1912, Einstein began a new phase of his gravitational research, with the help of his mathematician friend Marcel Grossmann, by phrasing his work in terms of the tensor calculus of Tullio Levi-Civita and Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro. The tensor calculus greatly facilitated calculations in four-dimensional space-time, a notion that Einstein had

obtained from Hermann Minkowski’s 1907 mathematical elaboration of Einstein’s own special theory of relativity. Einstein called his new work the general theory of relativity. After a number of false starts, he published the definitive form of the general theory in late 1915. In it the gravitational field equations were covariant; that is, similar to Maxwell’s equations, the field equations took the same form in all equivalent frames of reference. To their advantage from the beginning, the covariant field equations gave the observed perihelion motion of the planet Mercury. In its original form, Einstein’s general relativity has been verified numerous times in the past 60 years, especially during solar-eclipse expeditions when Einstein’s light-deflection prediction could