Einstein Albert

Related to Einstein Albert: Isaac Newton

Ein·stein

 (īn′stīn′), Albert 1879-1955.
German-born American theoretical physicist whose special and general theories of relativity revolutionized modern thought on the nature of space and time and formed a theoretical base for the exploitation of atomic energy. He won a 1921 Nobel Prize for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.

Ein′stein′i·an adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Ein·stein

(īn′stīn′), Albert 1879-1955.
German-born American physicist whose theories revolutionized scientific understanding of space and time. The special theory of relativity, published in 1905, established the equivalence of mass and energy. The general theory of relativity, published in 1915, stated that the force known as gravity is due to the curvature of space-time. Einstein also showed that light is composed of individual particles, later named photons. See more at relativity.
Biography Around 1900, the field of physics had fallen into confusion. The increased precision of new measuring devices had shown that the old laws of motion and gravity established by Galileo and Newton were unable to explain certain phenomena. For example, scientists now knew that the observed orbit of the planet Mercury differed slightly from that predicted by Newton. And new laws describing the movement of electromagnetic waves were shown not to work under certain conditions. A way to solving these problems was opened in 1905 by an unknown, 26-year-old office clerk named Albert Einstein. In that year, he published four path-breaking papers that revolutionized physics. Two introduced aspects of his special theory of relativity, which broke away from the Newtonian reliance on space and time as unchangeable frames of reference. In one of these papers, Einstein argued that the speed of light is the same for all observers. A third paper showed that light consists of particles called photons. A fourth explained the random movement of particles suspended in a fluid (what is known as Brownian motion). Later, in 1916, he showed that gravity is not just a force, but actually stretches or shrinks distances and even slows down time in relation to someone unaffected by the gravitational field. Einstein's new way of looking at gravity explained the variations in Mercury's orbit, and his theory that light consists not just of waves but of particles led to a more accurate description of electromagnetic radiation. For the next 50 years Einstein devoted himself to unveiling more of the mysteries of the physical world, and he also used his fame to promote peace and humanitarian causes.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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