THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO
18 MARCH 2013
ThingsThat Make You Go
On March 14, 1879, in Ulm, a tiny town on the banksof the river Danube in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, a boy was born to a Jewish electricalengineer and his wife.
Hermann and Pauline Einstein had no idea that their
rst-born son would one day change the way humans
look at the world around them.
Albert was an average student who, in 1895, sat theentrance exam for the Swiss Federal PolytechnicInstitute in Zurich. Sadly, he failed to attain therequired standard in several subjects;
the youngman did display surprising aptitude in both physics and
mathematics, which led the Polytechnic's principal totwist a few arms to get young Albert a place at theAargau Cantonal School in Aargau, Switzerland, wherehe would nish his secondary schooling.Upon leaving Aargau at age 17, Einstein enrolled in thefour-year mathematics and physics teaching diploma
program at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule
(ETH) in Zurich where, in a triumph for nerds everywhere, he managed to meet, court, fallin love with, and marry his wife, Mileva Marić — romancing her as they read extracurricular
physics books together. What a guy!
Einstein's work is legendary, but it is his development of the General Theory of Relativity (whichforms, alongside quantum mechanics, one of the two pillars of modern physics), for which he ismost famous.Published in 1916,
Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
is (according to Wikipedia)
one of the100 most inuential booksever published, sitting proudly alongside the works ofsuch literary giants as Homer (not Simpson), Plato, Plutarch, Dante, Darwin, and Confucius. Theequation Einstein proposed in his earlier (1905) 'Annus Mirabilis' papers to answer the question'Does the inertia of an object depend upon its energy content?' has become perhaps the mostfamous equation ever written (though try nding somebody who can explain it):