Times magazine selected Albert Einstein, the German born Jewish Scientist as the person of the 20th century. Undoubtedly, 20th century was the age of science and Einstein's contributions in unraveling mysteries of nature was unparalleled. However, few are aware that Einstein was also a great inventor. He and his collaborators had patented a wide variety of inventions in several countries.The article gives a nice accounts of Einstein's invenstions and patents.
The account of Einstein's life includes the usual myths, such as this account of his most famous paper:
3. On the electrodynamics of moving bodies, Annalen der Physik 17 (1905) 891-921.Almost all of this is wrong. It was not the first paper on special relativity, as it has little in conceptual advance from Lorentz's 1895 paper. It did not combine space and time. Length contraction was proposed by FitzGerald in 1889, and Larmor discussed time dilation in about
This is the first paper on special relativity. It drastically altered the century old man’s idea about space and time. In Newtonian mechanics they have separate identities. In Einstein's relativity, space and time are not separate entities rather one entity called space-time continuum. Continuum because in our experience there is no void in space or time. Identification of space-time as an entity required that bodies moving with velocity of light or near need a different mechanics, relativistic mechanics rather than the Newtonian mechanics. Intermingling of space and time produces few surprises, e.g. a moving clock tick slowly (time dilation), a moving rod contracts (length contraction),
strange laws of velocity addition etc.
The author does correctly point out that nobody thought that Einstein's 1905 paper was any big deal at the time. It was considered just an explanation of Lorentz's theory, and special relativity became popular are a result of Minkowski developing Poincare's ideas. Einstein's paper had almost no influence on the development and acceptance of special relativity.
"...and Larmor discussed time dilation in about 1999.", give or take a century!ReplyDelete