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samkent
2008-Feb-14, 05:45 PM
Was Albert really that much farther ahead of his peers? Or did he just solve some of the easier problems (relatively speaking) and therefore get the lions share of the publicity?
Clearly the images of him have come to define what we expect a “genius’ to look like. But were his peers his equal, just involved elsewhere.

If he lived in the 1700’s I suspect he would have been considered “That strange old man” with a mundane job and homely wife.

But I still wonder… Did he have a direct impact on the lives of the common man?

drainbread
2008-Feb-14, 06:36 PM
Was Albert really that much farther ahead of his peers? Or did he just solve some of the easier problems (relatively speaking) and therefore get the lions share of the publicity?
Clearly the images of him have come to define what we expect a “genius’ to look like. But were his peers his equal, just involved elsewhere.

If he lived in the 1700’s I suspect he would have been considered “That strange old man” with a mundane job and homely wife.

But I still wonder… Did he have a direct impact on the lives of the common man?

He was very good at making connections within his field of study and giving answers to very tough questions in a way that a layman could almost understand what was on his mind...
Would we be where we are today without him... No!

He challenged the status quo with relativity and won.

Would we still get there, more than likely

Oh yeah>>> "relatively speaking"

Was that an intended pun?

Noclevername
2008-Feb-14, 06:51 PM
Was Albert really that much farther ahead of his peers? Which peers? He associated and corresponded with some of the greatest geniuses of his time.



But I still wonder… Did he have a direct impact on the lives of the common man?
Since a lot of the technology we use has properties derived from his theories, yes. For example, the GPS network of satellites requires contant updating due to relative motion messing with the timers in each satellite. Without General Relativity, they'd quickly fall out of phase and become increasingly inaccurate. Without Einstein's letters to FDR, we also may not have had the Manhattan Project, which "changed the course of history", as the saying goes.

Gillianren
2008-Feb-14, 06:53 PM
Also, what makes you assume his wife would have been homely? He certainly wasn't an unattractive man in his youth.

alainprice
2008-Feb-14, 07:12 PM
IIRC, Einstein promised all proceeds of his 1905 paper to be paid to his wife(or ex-wife) as grounds to grant a divorce.

Disinfo Agent
2008-Feb-14, 07:27 PM
Was Albert really that much farther ahead of his peers? Or did he just solve some of the easier problems (relatively speaking) and therefore get the lions share of the publicity?Does this (http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/specrel/www/) seem easy to you?

tdvance
2008-Feb-14, 09:06 PM
ah--the special relativity paper--that's the (relatively) easy one (which can be taught to students with basic algebra). The hard one is the 1916 General relativity paper! That requires tensor calculus and differential equations at a minimum, and it helps to understand some things about differential manifolds too. Einstein had to learn that from a mathematician before he could come up with his General Relativity. (Nowadays, most theoretical physicists learn these subjects).

trinitree88
2008-Feb-14, 09:18 PM
Was Albert really that much farther ahead of his peers? Or did he just solve some of the easier problems (relatively speaking) and therefore get the lions share of the publicity?
Clearly the images of him have come to define what we expect a “genius’ to look like. But were his peers his equal, just involved elsewhere.

If he lived in the 1700’s I suspect he would have been considered “That strange old man” with a mundane job and homely wife.

But I still wonder… Did he have a direct impact on the lives of the common man?

samkent. When Einstein was asked "Who is the greatest physicist?" He replied" Lorentz, unqustionably Lorentz". It was Einsteins prolonged stay with Lorentz that firmed up his quantitative descriptions of transformations of coordinate systems...and led to the formulation of the Special Theory. Somebody else would have figured it out, sooner or later....there are several people on this board quite capable of it. But, first is first.
What also made Einstein so special was his ability to see where the tricky but solvable problems were...using the recently successful statistical mechanics for Brownian motion
...using the equipartition of energy theorem for heat capacities of monatomic and diatomic gases
...using the recent quanta concept, so fruitful in black body radiation curves for the photoelectric effect

A contemporary scientist might reach similar acclaim by solving some of our outstanding problems, say: 1. the origin of mass (even if they find no Higgs)
2. the origin of the asymmetry of matter over antimatter observed in the universe
3. the definitive explanation of non-Keplerian galaxy rotation curves
and ,4. the origin of the "axis of evil" in the WMAP polarimetry map

that ought to do it...pete

In the next decade, they all might fall, but if one gal/guy does it...that's genius.

jlhredshift
2008-Feb-14, 09:32 PM
Does this (http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/specrel/www/) seem easy to you?

DA: As soon as I saw the post I knew what was coming. Oh Yeah, That's good!!:lol:

John Mendenhall
2008-Feb-14, 10:00 PM
But I still wonder… Did he have a direct impact on the lives of the common man?

Haven't seen a world war since we set off two nukes in the last one, have we? Those politicians don't want to die themselves, they just want the soldiers to do it for them.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-14, 10:14 PM
Einstien was way out there. It's impossible to say for certain, but he was perhaps a decade ahead of his time.


If he lived in the 1700’s I suspect he would have been considered “That strange old man” with a mundane job and homely wife.

It's only chance that Einstien became obsessed with physics. There is no physics gene. Born in the same place and time he could have easily become obsessed with steam locomotives instead.


But I still wonder… Did he have a direct impact on the lives of the common man?

Beyond the popular buzz his work created? It's hard to judge the economic impact of Einstein. By advancing physics he advanced the date of other discoveries and inventions based on them, but without Einstien other thinkers wouldn't have sat still and done nothing, other productive work would have been done. But by advancing our knowlege, all else being equal, the average person is probably a little richer today than they would be without Einstien.

novaderrik
2008-Feb-15, 04:41 AM
i've heard that Einstein was somewhat of a freak of nature.. certain parts of his brain were not only larger than the average person, but they were more closely interconnected.
had he not had access to the resources that he did- and had he not met the people he did- he might have grown up to be the early 20th century equivalent of the unabomber, or at least that crazy guy that lives just outside of town.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-15, 04:46 AM
i've heard that Einstein was somewhat of a freak of nature.. certain parts of his brain were not only larger than the average person, but they were more closely interconnected.


Average is just that-- an average. In any given group, some will have brains more developed, some less.


had he not had access to the resources that he did- and had he not met the people he did- he might have grown up to be the early 20th century equivalent of the unabomber, or at least that crazy guy that lives just outside of town
Brain size has nothing to do with violence or insanity. From all accounts, Einstein was quite personable, affable, and a pacifist.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-15, 05:27 AM
had he not had access to the resources that he did- and had he not met the people he did- he might have grown up to be the early 20th century equivalent of the unabomber, or at least that crazy guy that lives just outside of town

Well, this is possible. Among identical twins it is possible for one to be a saint and one to be a sinner, so a clone of Einstien in a different environment could have turned out quite differently. Actually a clone of Einstien in the same environment could have turned out quite differently, as chance plays a great role in how we develop. Maybe he could have used his good looks and intellect to chase women or men instead of ideas.

Tim Thompson
2008-Feb-15, 05:29 AM
Was Albert really that much farther ahead of his peers?
I don't think so, at least not in the sense of being any smarter than they were. Einstein's strength was not that he was smarter or more intelligent, but rather that he could concentrate on a single problem with much greater tenacity & focus, and that he did not suffer from bias that prevented him from accepting the dictates of reason.

There is evidence from Poincare's notes that he saw the essentials of special relativity before Einstein did, but deliberately quit working on the problem because he could not deal with the idea of bringing time being observer dependent. We know that in quantum mechanics, Planck did not accept the physical reality of the quanta that he invented. Planck saw them only as computational tools for problem solving, but Einstein went all the way and assumed the physical reality of the quanta. That's how he came up with the photoelectric effect, because he was willing to interpret the experimental data in a way others were not. Einstein was willing to conceive ideas, and explore alternatives, where others were not willing to do so.

Einstein also concentrated on physics, to the exclusion of a "normal" life. He could not hold onto his first wife, and had a contract with his 2nd wife restricting when they would be together. Einstein did not invest emotion in other people in the normal way, but invested most of his emotion in his physics. It drove him to keep working when others would not. It was a big plus in his early years, when it drove him to discover the foundations of statistical mechanics & quantum mechanics, as well as his discoveries in relativity theory. It was a detriment in his later years, which prevented him from giving up his own bias against quantum mechanics. He became a loner in pursuit of the unified field theory, a classical "theory of everything" which we are today certain must be quantum mechanical, if there is such a theory to be found.

Einstein was certainly well above average, but I don't think his intellect was significantly greater than the many that surrounded him. Lorentz, Planck, bohr, and a host of others could penetrate as deeply as he could into physical problems.

sk8rpinoi32
2008-Feb-15, 07:12 AM
I wouldn't say that it was his tenacity that did him justice. Though that is a HUGE part of it. Einstein is a symbol of rebellion and to me that's what made him famous. He didn't believe that laws of gravity and time were absolute. He didn't fully accept that light had to be only a wave. And even in his later years, he didn't believe that probability ruled the subatomic world. His rebel streak made him famous just as how Copernicus and Galileo believed in a helio-centric universe or that Newton believed that the same force that pulled the moon also pulled apples to the Earth.

Neverfly
2008-Feb-15, 07:27 AM
I would like to add to all this...

Einstein studied math.
Hard.
He worked hard. He made the calculations and corrected himself (except for the cosmological constant) a LOT in his early years.

Einstein was a genius and I disagree with the downplaying of his intellectual ability.

I would say he was quite Unique in many ways. He made theories that made sense, that passed the tests and although he rebelled against some of the older ideas- he had theories that were not based on misconceptions, faulty math or Idle Ideas and musings.

He produced Solid Work.

Sp1ke
2008-Feb-15, 10:37 AM
Absolutely! Einstein didn't suddenly have a brilliant idea while he was sat at his desk, spent a couple of days writing it down, then sat back and said "I'm a genius".

No, he put a lot of effort into learning the maths, understanding the mainstream views, and standing on the shoulders of his predecessors. Then he started inching forward until he did come up with something brilliant and revolutionary. But it's nowhere near as easy to do as some of our ATM friends seem to think.

Neverfly
2008-Feb-15, 10:47 AM
Absolutely! Einstein didn't suddenly have a brilliant idea while he was sat at his desk, spent a couple of days writing it down, then sat back and said "I'm a genius".

No, he put a lot of effort into learning the maths, understanding the mainstream views, and standing on the shoulders of his predecessors. Then he started inching forward until he did come up with something brilliant and revolutionary. But it's nowhere near as easy to do as some of our ATM friends seem to think.

Exactly!

geonuc
2008-Feb-15, 11:05 AM
But I still wonder… Did he have a direct impact on the lives of the common man?
Why ask this question? What sort of 'direct impact' might you hope for from the work of a theoretical physicist?

Neverfly
2008-Feb-15, 11:08 AM
Why ask this question? What sort of 'direct impact' might you hope for from the work of a theoretical physicist?

Much of the technology we take for granted today was influenced by Einstein.

geonuc
2008-Feb-15, 11:29 AM
Much of the technology we take for granted today was influenced by Einstein.

Perhaps. But not much as a direct impact.

Don't get me wrong, I revere Einstein - he had one of the greatest minds we know of. But his was a world of theory. To judge him by how he directly affected the lives of us all is unfair.

This sort of question is often asked (most annoyingly, by congresscritters) when debate rises as to funding basic research - "How will a new supercollider benefit our citizens today?" I just don't like the question.

I do like the other questions the OP asks, though. It's good to remind ourselves of the achievements of people like Einstein, and questioning his work does that.

Neverfly
2008-Feb-15, 11:31 AM
Where is Neired to back me up on that claim?:think:

Argos
2008-Feb-15, 11:56 AM
Does this (http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/specrel/www/) seem easy to you?

Well, it is not difficult to understand. The difficult part was having that insight. That´s the touch of the genius.

geonuc
2008-Feb-15, 12:31 PM
Well, it is not difficult to understand. The difficult part was having that insight. That´s the touch of the genius.

I have trouble even understanding Einstein's work. But then, my IQ is not that great.


Where is Neired to back me up on that claim?:think:

LOL! I've read your posts - you do just fine by yourself, Neverfly. I suspect you're one of the people that actually does understand Einstein completely.

Argos
2008-Feb-15, 12:51 PM
I have trouble even understanding Einstein's work. But then, my IQ is not that great.

Don´t be so tough with yourself. :) I really think most of SR is within the grasp of anyone with a 95 IQ who has completed the 8th grade [not that I believe in IQ].

geonuc
2008-Feb-15, 01:17 PM
Don´t be so tough with yourself. :) ...

As one of the great philosophers of our time said: "A man's got to know his limitations."

I hang out here because you people awe me. To say some of the posts are so far above my head is to say the ISS is above aboriginals (or is it aborigines?).

But back to Einstein. Sometimes I think I got it (GR or SR), but then I might be asked to explain it and all I can say is uhhh....

Neverfly
2008-Feb-15, 01:40 PM
But back to Einstein. Sometimes I think I got it (GR or SR), but then I might be asked to explain it and all I can say is uhhh....

Buddy, join the club!

Celeste
2008-Feb-15, 02:16 PM
Why ask this question? What sort of 'direct impact' might you hope for from the work of a theoretical physicist?

What about this?


This day and age we're living in
Gives cause for apprehension
With speed and new invention
And things like fourth dimension.

Yet we get a trifle weary
With Mr. Einstein's theory.
........................

"As Time Goes By"
music and words by Herman Hupfeld

© 1931 Warner Bros. Music Corporation, ASCAP


http://www.reelclassics.com/Movies/Casablanca/astimegoesby-lyrics.htm

samkent
2008-Feb-15, 02:23 PM
While the shift in the GPS clocks is explained by Einstein, the effect would have been measured and simple compensation introduced.

So could Bill Gates be considered a genius, at least in his field? He did have that intense focus and excluded much of the world, to develop an operating system.

a1call
2008-Feb-15, 02:29 PM
He was very good at making connections within his field of study and giving answers to very tough questions in a way that a layman could almost understand what was on his mind...


Yes, Take his description of Radio (http://monster-island.org/tinashumor/humor/eincat.html) for example. :)

John Mendenhall
2008-Feb-15, 03:16 PM
Well, it is not difficult to understand. The difficult part was having that insight. That´s the touch of the genius.


True. Lorentz contraction was a mathematical curiousity until Einstein had his great insight, which was that this was the way the physical world actually worked.

Gives new meaning to 'faster than a speeding bullet', doesn't it?

Gillianren
2008-Feb-15, 06:16 PM
I have trouble even understanding Einstein's work. But then, my IQ is not that great.

Mine is, and I'm on the list of those who understand it just fine but could never hope to explain it to anyone else. My intelligence lies in a different field.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-15, 07:17 PM
I understand the very basics; the math is beyond me, unfortunately.

Disinfo Agent
2008-Feb-15, 07:24 PM
I can deal with the math of special relativity (just don't put me before tensors!), but I lack the physical culture to truly grasp what it all means.

korjik
2008-Feb-15, 09:15 PM
Was Albert really that much farther ahead of his peers? Or did he just solve some of the easier problems (relatively speaking) and therefore get the lions share of the publicity?
Clearly the images of him have come to define what we expect a “genius’ to look like. But were his peers his equal, just involved elsewhere.

If he lived in the 1700’s I suspect he would have been considered “That strange old man” with a mundane job and homely wife.

But I still wonder… Did he have a direct impact on the lives of the common man?

Einstein wrote 3 papers in 1905 that each could have gotten a Nobel. He got his Nobel for the theory of photoelectric effect, not relativity. Ever used a solar cell?

E=mc^2 was one of the inspirations on the atom bomb. It was how the massive yield was attained. Ever heard of the cold war? Hiroshima?

He was a giant among the giants of science. That does not diminish the men and women whith whom he worked. The beggining of the ast century was a time of exponental growth in the sum total of human knowledge, and there was fame enough for all.

Disinfo Agent
2008-Feb-15, 09:19 PM
E=mc^2 was one of the inspirations on the atom bomb. It was how the massive yield was attained. Ever heard of the cold war? Hiroshima?Or does he like the pictures we've been getting from the Cassini probe?...

Tim Thompson
2008-Feb-15, 11:52 PM
Einstein was a genius and I disagree with the downplaying of his intellectual ability.
I certainly do not mean to "downplay" Einstein's intellectual achievements, they speak for themselves. But I do think the word "genius" is too easy to bandy about without regard for the many human qualities that go into what we call an achievement of "genius".

Let me offer an analogy from something I do know well. Alexander Alekhine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Alekhine) & Bobby Fischer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Fischer) are famous world chess champions, both considered viable candidates for the title of "greatest chess player who ever lived". Both were completely consumed by chess, and neither of them had any accomplishments to their credit outside of competitive chess. So, were they born "chess geniuses"? Or did they achieve greatness not simply because of "genius", but because they combined a superior intellect with an enormous depth of work and an enormous desire to achieve? Compare them to another world chess champion, Max Euwe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Euwe). Euwe earned a PhD in mathematics, and went on to become world chess champion, even though he could only concentrate on chess during his vacation time from teaching mathematics. Euwe was not even close to the same level of dedication that Alekhine showed, and yet was able to win the world championship from Alekhine. I would say that Euwe was more of a genius than either Alekhine or Fischer, because his achievement of the same goal as theirs had less to do with single minded concentration on one thing, and more to do with innate (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/innate) intelligence.

Now there is no doubt that Einstein had a healthy dose of innate intelligence. But he also, as others have pointed out, did a lot of work. He concentrated a single minded effort on the problems he solved, a quality also exercised by Isaac Newton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton). My point is that neither Einstein, nor anyone else, achieves greatness through something as simple and one-dimensional as "genius". Genius by itself may or may not go anywhere. How many "geniuses" never become great or well known, simply because they lack the desire or drive to achieve? Einstein had that drive, he combined an obviously superior intellect with a strong desire to get things done, and that combination is what made him great.

That's what I think. Of course we cannot know; even if they were all alive, we could not read their minds. But that's what my experience leads me to think.

sk8rpinoi32
2008-Feb-16, 12:02 AM
I would like to add to all this...

Einstein studied math.
Hard.
He worked hard. He made the calculations and corrected himself (except for the cosmological constant) a LOT in his early years.

Einstein was a genius and I disagree with the downplaying of his intellectual ability.

I would say he was quite Unique in many ways. He made theories that made sense, that passed the tests and although he rebelled against some of the older ideas- he had theories that were not based on misconceptions, faulty math or Idle Ideas and musings.

He produced Solid Work.

Actually, he wasn't GREAT at math as much as we would like. He did "master" advance calculus at age 15. But it wasn't until 1915 when he realized that non-Euclidean math was going to be involved for his theory in General Relativity. That's when he turned to his friend, who became a professor in non-Euclidean mathematics at Zürich, for help in the mathematics of his theory. Prior to that, Einstein couldn't imagine that space-time was a fabric and basically threw out whatever he felt he didn't need, such as advance math with vectors and tensors.

Noclevername
2008-Feb-16, 12:04 AM
Actually, he wasn't GREAT at math as much as we would like. He did "master" advance calculus at age 15. But it wasn't until 1915 when he realized that non-Euclidean math was going to be involved for his theory in General Relativity. That's when he turned to his friend, who became a professor in non-Euclidean mathematics at Zürich, for help in the mathematics of his theory. Prior to that, Einstein couldn't imagine that space-time was a fabric and basically threw out whatever he felt he didn't need, such as advance math with vectors and tensors.

Yes, but once he realized he'd need it, he mastered it at a level few can match. That's what I call great at math.

sk8rpinoi32
2008-Feb-16, 12:06 AM
I have trouble even understanding Einstein's work. But then, my IQ is not that great..

Don't worry about not understanding the math. It's the concepts that matter. Special Relativity-Time and distance are relative and are dependent of one another. As well as matter and energy.
General-Space Time is a fabric and gravity is a consquence of matter/energy being present on that fabric. Space-time is essentially curved.

a1call
2008-Feb-16, 12:43 AM
Regarding his intelligence, I can't find a reference of the following on the net so it may or may not be true.

Regardless, I recall hearing a tale where Einstein was working in his lab one day and his cat would interrupt his work trying to get in and out. He instructs his maid to remind him to construct two holes in the lab door so that his cat could come through and leave. At this point the maid asks why 2 doors, the cat could come in and leave through the same door. :)

Intelligence is not a general characteristic.

sk8rpinoi32
2008-Feb-16, 06:47 AM
Regarding his intelligence, I can't find a reference of the following on the net so it may or may not be true.

Regardless, I recall hearing a tale where Einstein was working in his lab one day and his cat would interrupt his work trying to get in and out. He instructs his maid to remind him to construct two holes in the lab door so that his cat could come through and leave. At this point the maid asks why 2 doors, the cat could come in and leave through the same door. :)

Intelligence is not a general characteristic.

It's in Walter Isaacson's biography of Einstein. If the book is true, then it is. In Einstein's college years, he opposed the fact that he needed non-Euclidean geometry to be a physicist. His math teacher even called him "A Lazy Dog" or he's "As lazy as a dog." He only passed because he borrowed notes from a friend, Marcel Grossman, who was planning to have a career as a math teacher.

I'm somewhat sketchy about one part of his life. I never understood if Einstein passed his physics class in Zürich. I thought he didn't because him and his professor, Herr Weber, disliked one another. So much that Einstein dropped the Herr part and would say his name in a disrespectful manner. (Einstein would later blame Weber for the reason why he couldn't get a job.) However, how could he apply for physicist jobs if he failed.

Celeste
2008-Feb-16, 10:58 AM
Regarding his intelligence, I can't find a reference of the following on the net so it may or may not be true.

Regardless, I recall hearing a tale where Einstein was working in his lab one day and his cat would interrupt his work trying to get in and out. He instructs his maid to remind him to construct two holes in the lab door so that his cat could come through and leave. At this point the maid asks why 2 doors, the cat could come in and leave through the same door. :)

Intelligence is not a general characteristic.

Einstein was right and the maid did not understand cats. Any of you who is owned by a cat knows what I am talking about.

But I am sure the cat would not have been content with the holes and would have prompted Einstein to pass through with him. :doh:

Celeste
2008-Feb-16, 11:07 AM
Einstein wrote 3 papers in 1905 that each could have gotten a Nobel. He got his Nobel for the theory of photoelectric effect, not relativity. Ever used a solar cell?


No theory, however bright, will win you a Nobel until it can be proved by experimental test on a distinct prediction. The photoelectric effect could be tested in a lab. Relativity was not easy to test in a lab at that time and had to wait for astronomic observations to be confirmed.

I guess that´s why there isn´t a Nobel prize for Mathematics.

geonuc
2008-Feb-16, 01:05 PM
Einstein was right and the maid did not understand cats. Any of you who is owned by a cat knows what I am talking about.


Yep.

Len Moran
2008-Feb-16, 03:20 PM
Einstein was driven entirely by a quest to know the ultimate mechanisms of nature. That single mindedness produced his theories of relativity - theories that would satisfy his mathematical realist inclinations, but (in my opinion) his total rejection of quantum mechanics reveals in hindsight a genius who expected far too much from his realist view of science. In the overall scheme of things, this rejection takes nothing away from his particular immense achievements, but in terms of a scientist, brings him down to a level that I would not consider to be head and shoulders above his peers.

clint
2008-Feb-16, 06:56 PM
... the GPS network of satellites requires contant updating due to relative motion messing with the timers in each satellite. Without General Relativity, they'd quickly fall out of phase and become increasingly inaccurate...

I didn't know these effects are measurable at these 'low' speeds (i.e. small fractions of light speed).

This might sound silly, but:
does that mean the astronauts from MIR, ISS, etc, come back a little younger than if they had stayed on Earth?
:confused:

tdvance
2008-Feb-16, 07:22 PM
not just speed, but earth's gravity field--that is what would make the GPS satellites inaccurate, except that it was corrected for using Einstein's equations.

sk8rpinoi32
2008-Feb-16, 10:12 PM
No theory, however bright, will win you a Nobel until it can be proved by experimental test on a distinct prediction. The photoelectric effect could be tested in a lab. Relativity was not easy to test in a lab at that time and had to wait for astronomic observations to be confirmed.

I guess that´s why there isn´t a Nobel prize for Mathematics.

The story with the Nobel prize is a bit complicated. In 1921, the committee consisted with a bunch of proud German experimentalist. However, one of them was a physicist who loved Relativity and felt that Einstein deserved the Nobel prize of that year, even though it was 17 years after the introduction of the theory. However, to get past the German's who were on the board, that physicist argued that the photoelectric effect could be proven through experiment, even though the General Relativity was proven with the 1911 solar eclipse. The committee felt that he was right and awarded Einstein with the Nobel prize. (There was even talk that Philip Lenard, the discover of the photoelectric effect, should be awarded with the prize.)

fotobits
2008-Feb-17, 01:56 AM
My point is that neither Einstein, nor anyone else, achieves greatness through something as simple and one-dimensional as "genius". Genius by itself may or may not go anywhere. How many "geniuses" never become great or well known, simply because they lack the desire or drive to achieve? Einstein had that drive, he combined an obviously superior intellect with a strong desire to get things done, and that combination is what made him great.
I agree completely. Genius itself is useless unless accompanied by the drive to excel. How many child prodigies have gone on to lead average lives?

As for Einstein's direct contributions to society, that is a semantic game. Einstein was a theorist, and his contributions lie in the theories he developed. As Newton, he saw further than his peers because he stood on the shoulders of giants. Yeah, he may not have been any smarter than a half dozen other 20th century physicists, but Einstein is the one who sparked the 20th century revolution in physics.

EndeavorRX7
2008-Feb-17, 02:12 AM
# Person % Tally
1. Enrico Fermi 21.25 769453
2. Jonas Salk 21.04 762048
3. Viktor Hambardzumian 15.30 554143
4. Milton Friedman 10.63 385181
5. Edward Teller 8.94 323981
6. Alan Turing 8.52 308806
7. Yasar Nuri Ozturk 8.06 292039
8. Vannevar Bush 3.30 119549
9. Albert Einstein 1.49 54262
10.John Kennedy 0.21 8634


These were the results of a TIME poll of the most influential "scientists & thinkers" (poll conducted in 2000). I would have thought Albert Einstein would be higher up. What do you think?

This is where I got this from: http://www.time.com/time/time100/time100poll.html

Byrd
2008-Feb-17, 03:43 AM
Another point should be made that Einstein was a giant... who stood on the shoulder of giants and is part of the (elephants all the way down) intellectual sequence who makes possible some of the greatest minds of today.

Like Hawking.

Extraordinary men are few and far between, but they don't step out of the womb and start creating theorems (at least, as far as we know. They first have to learn language and how to tell reality from perception.)

Neverfly
2008-Feb-17, 03:58 AM
I agree.

His personal life is not the issue here.

The man was extremely intelligent. And he did remarkable things.

sk8rpinoi32
2008-Feb-17, 05:05 AM
# Person % Tally
1. Enrico Fermi 21.25 769453
2. Jonas Salk 21.04 762048
3. Viktor Hambardzumian 15.30 554143
4. Milton Friedman 10.63 385181
5. Edward Teller 8.94 323981
6. Alan Turing 8.52 308806
7. Yasar Nuri Ozturk 8.06 292039
8. Vannevar Bush 3.30 119549
9. Albert Einstein 1.49 54262
10.John Kennedy 0.21 8634


These were the results of a TIME poll of the most influential "scientists & thinkers" (poll conducted in 2000). I would have thought Albert Einstein would be higher up. What do you think?

This is where I got this from: http://www.time.com/time/time100/time100poll.html

Wait? That was a poll? Who were they polling? I highly doubt it was public.

Neverfly
2008-Feb-17, 05:22 AM
Wait? That was a poll? Who were they polling? I highly doubt it was public.

I agree. Einsteins name is a household word. His 'image' is used to epitomize geniuses in cartoons.
I don't even know who some of those people are on the list...

Michael Noonan
2008-Feb-17, 05:41 AM
Wait? That was a poll? Who were they polling? I highly doubt it was public.

Oh it was made public alright so definitely no bias. It is the polls by select groups that are interesting ... although I will admit they managed to get the world's top stem cell researcher in at number 94 on the alternate polls :)

EndeavorRX7
2008-Feb-17, 05:52 AM
I agree. Einsteins name is a household word. His 'image' is used to epitomize geniuses in cartoons.
I don't even know who some of those people are on the list...

I never heard of some of those people either. That's why I provided the link so that no one would think I made it up.

EndeavorRX7
2008-Feb-17, 05:57 AM
Here's another one I don't quite get.

http://www.time.com/time/time100/t100events.html

Elvis introducing rock & roll over the moon landings?

In 300 years no one will care about Elvis, but man landing on the moon for the first time will still hold it's significance. Was Elvis even the first guy to do rock & roll?

Neverfly
2008-Feb-17, 06:29 AM
"We're whalers on the moon...
We carry a harpoon...
But there ain't no whales, so we tell tall tales...
And sing our whalin' tune."

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-17, 06:42 AM
Was Elvis even the first guy to do rock & roll?

Elvis borrowed from another American musical tradition and made it appeal to mainstream America.

sk8rpinoi32
2008-Feb-17, 07:06 AM
Elvis borrowed from another American musical tradition and made it appeal to mainstream America.

No It was chuck berry. Actually it was Richard Little. Cuz if you ask him, he invented Rock and roll. In fact, even if you don't ask him, he'll tell you.

sk8rpinoi32
2008-Feb-17, 07:15 AM
Here's another one I don't quite get.

http://www.time.com/time/time100/t100events.html

Elvis introducing rock & roll over the moon landings?

In 300 years no one will care about Elvis, but man landing on the moon for the first time will still hold it's significance. Was Elvis even the first guy to do rock & roll?

LOL. Apparently they aren't polling the American public or anyone smart for that matter. You're telling me that an event that invovled the whole world and changed foreign policy for EVERYONE as well showed the world the single greatest crime against humanity (Even though Pol Pot's campaign was "worse" the Holocaust precedented that) is a lesser event than Elvis, who didn't invent rock n' roll and I fully believe that even without Elvis we would still see the same events following, teaching Rock n' Roll to teens (which was only important in America and had very little influence in Britain where Rock n' Roll really took off). Time magazine is dumb.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-17, 07:35 AM
No It was chuck berry. Actually it was Richard Little. Cuz if you ask him, he invented Rock and roll. In fact, even if you don't ask him, he'll tell you.

I think Chuck Berry and Little Richard were both part of that tradition I was reffering to.

Celeste
2008-Feb-17, 10:22 AM
No It was chuck berry. Actually it was Richard Little. Cuz if you ask him, he invented Rock and roll. In fact, even if you don't ask him, he'll tell you.

Nobody invented Rock´n Roll unless you are thinking on the records industry executives who chose it as a label to boost sales. It was a slow transition from previous styles in dance and music.

As a dance (its primary meaning: "rock" and "roll") it is another swing / jive style and in fact no richer than the styles which preceded it.

As the music this dance attached to, it evolutioned from the most regular rhythm & blues (just as swing is danceable jazz).

Both were slow transitions and nobody set a design for them. Just they followed a trend that was catching. For the dance, a simpler and easier rhythm (and so, more popular because of its increased spreading). For the music, a variation in style that sold better and took it out from ghettoes. None of them in a single step. And nobody set a master design of what rock´n roll was to be. Where are the blueprints? If they existed you can be sure the industry would have patented them.

Without design, there is no single paternity. Quite the contrary, Einstein did design his theories as his contemporaries did with their own.

Celeste
2008-Feb-17, 10:25 AM
"We're whalers on the moon...
We carry a harpoon...
But there ain't no whales, so we tell tall tales...
And sing our whalin' tune."

Futurama #2 ?

Celeste
2008-Feb-17, 10:38 AM
The story with the Nobel prize is a bit complicated. In 1921, the committee consisted with a bunch of proud German experimentalist. However, one of them was a physicist who loved Relativity and felt that Einstein deserved the Nobel prize of that year, even though it was 17 years after the introduction of the theory. However, to get past the German's who were on the board, that physicist argued that the photoelectric effect could be proven through experiment, even though the General Relativity was proven with the 1911 solar eclipse. The committee felt that he was right and awarded Einstein with the Nobel prize. (There was even talk that Philip Lenard, the discover of the photoelectric effect, should be awarded with the prize.)

Thanks sk8rpinoi32 for this extended story. I did not know it so complete.

I guess you mean the 1919 eclipse, since a 1911 eclipse would have been earlier than GTR and so it woukl not have been a prediction, but an explanation ad hoc. And SR would have given wrong figures for the deviation in the light path, as would have Newton´s mechanics which already predicted a deviation when you put the photon mass/energy in it.

hhEb09'1
2008-Feb-17, 12:14 PM
These were the results of a TIME poll of the most influential "scientists & thinkers" (poll conducted in 2000). I would have thought Albert Einstein would be higher up. What do you think?Einstein? I'm still trying to make up my mind about number three, Viktor Ambartsumian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Amazaspovich_Ambartsumian) or number seven, Yasar Ozturk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasar_Nuri_Ozturk) (that wiki article says his category at Time was "scientists and healers").

Neverfly
2008-Feb-17, 12:33 PM
Futurama #2 ?

I think so. I don't memorize episodes.

I was too distracted by the farmers daughter... you know how it is...

drainbread
2008-Feb-17, 01:02 PM
No It was chuck berry. Actually it was Richard Little. Cuz if you ask him, he invented Rock and roll. In fact, even if you don't ask him, he'll tell you.

Fats Domino.

mugaliens
2008-Feb-18, 01:30 PM
Genius occurs via two modalities. In the first, it happens once in a lifetime, whereby the genius had a moment of inspiration, and did what whas needed to get the job done.

Most of those go unnoticed.

In the second modality, genious appears throughout a person's life. It may be noticed, or go unnoticed.

I believe Einstein falls into the latter category.

I believe I fall into the previous category, for I, although of only slightly above average intelligence, have managed to stumble across a few key breakthroughs in my time, things which no one else could solve, but I did, and successfully implemented.

Desperation? Geniousness?

Who knows.

Survival is a powerful instinct built into all of us. Who knows when it's pure genius and when it's merely everything building to a crescendo because it's a matter of survival?

tdvance
2008-Feb-19, 06:40 PM
I remember some quotation, but not by whom: everybody is a genius once a year. The great ones have good ideas closer together.

Argos
2008-Feb-19, 06:56 PM
Fats Domino.

Don´t wanna be off-topic but 'In The Mood' is pretty R&R - we´re talking bout geniuses anyway...

Tucson_Tim
2008-Feb-19, 07:42 PM
In addition to his Relativity Theories, for which he was never rewarded with a Nobel, and his many other papers, Einstein was a great humanitarian also.

mtm105
2008-Feb-21, 03:07 PM
I think it was part genius and part luck. Einstein was at the right place at the right time and had the right tools. If he were 20 years ealier, he wouldn't have been able to produce results. And if he were 20 years later, maybe not a single person, but a group could have, and were working at producing data.

E=MC2 is rather basic, is it not? Engery = 2 pieces of Mass Accelerated at the speed of light and colliding. I mean, I am incapable of proving it mathematically, but in theory it is simple.

Tucson_Tim
2008-Feb-21, 03:13 PM
E=MC2 is rather basic, is it not? Engery = 2 pieces of Mass Accelerated at the speed of light and colliding. I mean, I am incapable of proving it mathematically, but in theory it is simple.

Correction: Energy = mass x (speed of light SQUARED)

mtm105
2008-Feb-21, 03:23 PM
Correction: Energy = mass x (speed of light SQUARED)

please forgive me, I tend to be a moron.

But if you take two pieces of Mass and accelerate both of them at the speed of light and collide them, isn't that squaring??:whistle:

Argos
2008-Feb-21, 03:44 PM
The contant 'c' is a property of spacetime. It happens to be also the maximum speed a massless particle can dislocate at in a trajectory in spacetime. But it is not necessarily about 'motion'.

Tucson_Tim
2008-Feb-21, 03:49 PM
please forgive me, I tend to be a moron.


No more than the rest of us from time to time . . .

mtm105
2008-Feb-21, 03:56 PM
I'm still kinda fuzzy. TT said it is the speed of light SQUARED. If that isn't motion, I don't know what is....but I never concentrated on physics, just enough to pass Astronomy 101.

mtm105
2008-Feb-21, 03:59 PM
Can anyone say anything BAD about Einstein? He married his first cousin, yuck! He had lousey hair.

Is it true his brain is on exhibit?

mugaliens
2008-Feb-21, 04:39 PM
Statiscally speaking, all geniuses are abberations. The term "normal" isn't normal at all. It's merely a mean, and any arbitrarially-selected range around it is very often wrongly/incorrectly used to highlight anything falling outside of that range.

Argos
2008-Feb-21, 04:50 PM
I'm still kinda fuzzy. TT said it is the speed of light SQUARED. If that isn't motion, I don't know what is....but I never concentrated on physics, just enough to pass Astronomy 101.

This thread (http://www.bautforum.com/questions-answers/70087-e-mc-2-question.html) features an interesting discussion on why squares arise in the famous SR formula [it is about geometry - a modified version of the Pythagorean Theorem]