Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 30 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Einstein: Brilliant Skeptic

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   1 comment
Message James A. Haught
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)

This piece was reprinted by OpEd News with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Everyone, everywhere knows of Albert Einstein as a worldwide symbol of scientific genius. Most remember that his famed 1905 equation, E=MC2 - showing that a small amount of matter can be transformed into a stupendous amount of energy - paved the way for nuclear power and bombs.

But otherwise, even well-educated folks often are vague about all that Einstein did to become the planet's most famous scientist. I just read a simplified 2006 book, Essential Einstein, and distilled this thumbnail reference for anyone who wants to keep track:

Between 1902 and 1909, while living in Bern, Switzerland, Einstein published 32 scientific papers - then wrote many others later in his life. In 1905, his "miracle year", he stunned the world with four revolutions plus another work:

---- Photoelectric effect - He confirmed quantum theory by showing that light is quantized, traveling in individual energy packets, photons, that cause electrons to pop randomly from metal. For this, he got the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics.

---- Special Relativity - After the 1887 Michelson-Morley experiment showed that the speed of light is absolutely constant, Einstein deduced that everything else must vary as speed increases: time slows, mass increases, dimensions shorten in the direction of movement. This has deep philosophical implications because it shows that reality isn't as fixed and tangible as we think it is. Many modern tests have confirmed the weird changes.

---- Interchangeability of matter and energy demonstrated by his renowned equation E=MC2 (which was proven horribly when a quantity of matter smaller than a dime turned into energy at Hiroshima in 1945).

---- Brownian motion - Einstein confirmed the theory of atoms by showing that gases and liquids consist of vast numbers of hyper-small invisible particles darting and ricocheting - and they kick pollen or smoke particles about frantically.

---- Dimensions of molecules - His doctoral dissertation showed how to calculate the size of molecules and Avogadro's number, the tally of molecules in a quantity of gas called a mole.

1906 - A paper on heat radiation.

1907 - The Equivalence Principle -- Einstein showed that gravity and acceleration are indistinguishable in effects they produce.

1908 - More on quantum electromagnetic radiation, the topic of his 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect.

1910 - A paper on opalescence, the scattering of blue in the daytime sky.

1911 - His famous theory that gravity bends light waves -- which was confirmed during a 1919 eclipse when astronomers saw that stars behind the masked sun's position appeared slightly out of place.

1913-14 - Papers on tensor calculus and differential geometry.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

James A. Haught Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.  Mr. Haught has won two dozen national news writing awards. He has written 12 books and hundreds of magazine essays and blog posts. Around 450 of his essays are online. He is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, a weekly blogger at Daylight Atheism, (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Feeding 7.7 Billion

Megachurch Mess

Religion-Tinged Politics

deadly labor struggles

The Dreams that Stuff is Made Of

Coal Mine Wars

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend