Later scientific contributions

In 1908 Einstein finally received an academic position at the University of Bern, which gave him the title privatdozent (roughly equivalent to a postdoctoral researcher, granted by some European universities for those who hold a Ph.D. and Habilitation and want to pursue an academic career). Einstein published a paper in 1910 on critical opalescence, describing how light is scattered by molecules in the atmosphere, making the sky appear blue. He also worked more on the quantization of light, showing that light and energy quanta must act as independent pointlike particles. He published this in two papers, including one entitled "The Development of our Views on the Composition and Essence of Radiation." This work led to the idea of the wave-particle dual nature of light in quantum mechanics.

Einstein took a position as associate professor at the University of Zurich in 1911, then moved quickly to a full professorship at the Charles university of Prague, in the present-day Czech Republic. From there he published a new paper on the effects of gravity on light and the gravitation redshift of light, including a test of the model later confirmed during a solar eclipse.

In 1912 Einstein returned as a full professor at ETH, where he worked on gravitational theory, eventually publishing his general theory of relativity in 1915. The basic idea of general relativity is that gravitation is the distortion of space-time by matter, which affects the inertial motion of other matter.

World War I broke out in 1914 and Maric moved to Zurich while Einstein moved to Berlin, where he became a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin, and served as director to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics from 1914 to 1932. He also accepted a position as an extraordinary professor at Leiden University, and he traveled to Holland regularly to lecture between 1920 and 1930.

In 1917 Einstein published a paper that added the cosmological constant to his theory of general relativity, in an attempt to explain the behavior of the entire universe. Einstein later abandoned this constant, although new observations in the 1990s suggest that he may have been correct. In 1917 different groups of astronomers also began testing Einstein's prediction of the gravitational redshift of light, but all groups claimed to have disproved his theories until 1919, when the team of British astronomer Arthur Eddington confirmed the gravitational deflection of starlight by the Sun during an eclipse, proving Einstein correct. scientists around the world then recognized the importance of Einstein's work, with British Nobel laureate Paul Dirac claiming Einstein's theory was "the greatest scientific discovery ever made."

Albert Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics "for his service to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect." The prize was awarded specifically for his paper on the photoelectric effect entitled "On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light." His theory of relatively was also mentioned but said to be controversial. Earlier that year, while in New York, Einstein was quoted as saying that scientific work proceeds best by examining physical reality and searching for underlying axioms that give consistent explanations that apply in all instances and that do not contradict one another.

After receiving the Nobel Prize and his work on general relativity, Einstein focused on unifying the fundamental laws of physics (including those governing electromagnetism and gravity) into a unified field theory. He was never successful at this (nor was anyone else to date), and as time passed he became progressively more isolated in the physics community, arguing publicly with Danish physicist and Nobel laureate Niels Bohr about scientific determinism and whether or not quantum phenomena are inherently probabilistic or not, and even ignoring many major developments such as the discoveries of the strong and weak nuclear forces. Einstein's drive to find a unifying field theory survives in physics as the current search for a grand unifying theory.

In 1933 Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany and immediately removed Jews and other politically suspect employees from office, including from university professorships. Einstein had been active in discussions of science and religion and in the proposed establishment of the State of Israel, and was prudent enough to have left Germany in 1932 and taken up residence in the United States. He spent time at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. After his wife, Elsa, died in 1936, he continued at the Institute for Advanced Study and also became active in helping obtain visas for European Jews trying to flee Nazi persecution and genocide, helping to form the International Rescue Committee.

Meanwhile, in Germany, a campaign by German physicists including Philipp Lenard and Johannes Stark was mounted to try to discredit Einstein's work as "Jewish physics," and there were attempts made to claim his work was done instead by Aryan physicists. Einstein was granted U.S. citizenship, then teamed up with the Hungarian Jewish refugee and physicist Leo Szilard to persuade U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt to develop an atomic weapon before the Germans did, and by 1942 this effort developed into the Manhattan Project. By 1945 the United States had developed operational nuclear weapons and used them on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, killing 220,000 people and leading to the end of World War II. Einstein made public statements that he did not work on the atomic bomb projects, and that he regretted writing the letter to Roosevelt asking that such research be started.

Einstein was taken to Princeton Hospital on April 17, 1955, for internal bleeding caused by a ruptured aortic aneurysm. He brought along a speech he was working on to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the founding of Israel, but he died the next morning at the age of 76. Before Einstein was cremated the hospital pathologist, without permission, removed Einstein's brain, which has been preserved for science, but the doctor who removed the organ was fired for performing the act without permission of the family. His brain was sliced up and pieces given to various researchers, including Dr. Marian Diamond from the University of California, Berkeley. other pieces were sent to researchers at Princeton University, and McMaster University in Hamilton, ontario, Canada.

See also astronomy; astrophysics; cosmology; general relativity; gravity, gravity anomaly; origin and evolution of the universe.

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