Albert Einstein is considered one of the greatest scientists the world has ever known. Undeniably, his spectacular work in Physics, especially in the early twentieth century, deeply influenced the world, changing the ways scientists look at the universe. The legacy of Einstein did not end with his death, but still continues to evolve and still leaves the world wondering.
Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics for his outstanding contribution to science, especially in Physics for developing the theory of general relativity. He is best known for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 “for his services to theoretical Physics, and for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”.
Undoubtedly known as the greatest scientist of the twentieth century, Einstein’s 1905 ‘Special Theory of Relativity’, which revolutionised Physics, remains terrific till date. The prestigious theory, which sparked a heated debate amongst the physicists, later defeated CERN scientists’ feat which claimed to have detected ‘neutrinos that travel faster than light’, as the findings turned out to be a flaw owing to two technical errors- a loose fiber optic cable and mistiming by the experiments’ master clock (which were to blame for the erroneous faster-than-light measurements).
The faulty experiment had also cost him the job of the head of the European science team known by the acronym, OPERA, after a “no confidence” vote against his leadership of the experiments was moved.
Einstein’s brilliant contributions to science and to humanity in general are so vast that his terrific works remain substantial even today. One of his vital contributions is his task with the atom bomb and his letter to the then US President Franklin D President Roosevelt.
Although he was not directly involved in developing the atomic weapon, he helped alert President Roosevelt that Germany might be manufacturing an atomic weapon, and suggested that the US embark on similar research, which eventually led to the Manhattan Project (a huge crash program of nuclear research that produced the world’s first atomic bomb during World War II).
By and large, Einstein’s scientific advancements immeasurably changed the world. In the above case for the worse, as the project eventually led to the atomic bombing of Japan.Einstein’s appalling personal life
Einstein, notwithstanding his innumerable professional triumphs, too has a dark side to him. Walter Isaacson, in his book, Einstein: His Life and Universe, disclosed the various prospects and not so thriving private life of the genius physicist. Walter illustrated how Einstein struggled hard in keeping a tuneful love life, a battle he would never succeed.
As Walter reveals in his book, one could imagine how tough and weird life would have been for Mileva Maric, the first wife and fellow scientist of Einstein, when he would compile a list of bizarre conditions under which he was willing to remain married. By that time, they had two sons, but as fate would have it, and their marriage being destined for failure, they divorced in 1919. It is believed that his infidelity was one of the reasons behind the split.
Ironically, Einstein’s first daughter Lieserl was born a year before he and Mileva were married in 1903. Lieserl was mentally challenged by birth. They put her up for adoption but the little girl is assumed to have died of scarlet fever at 21 months.
Three months after his separation from Mileva, Einstein married his divorced cousin Elsa Lowenthal, but he cheated on her with his secretary, Betty Neumann a few years later. It is said that Elsa tolerated his affairs with other women because she liked being Mrs. Albert Einstein and the position she held in the society as his wife. Elsa died in 1936, but Einstein didn’t remarry although he continued to have had many affairs with other women.
According to the letters published by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Einstein had also half a dozen of girlfriends with whom he spent time and from whom he received gifts while being married to Elsa.
Some of his women include- Estella, Ethel, Toni and his “Russian spy lover,” Margarita. Others are referred to only by initials, like M. and L.
With his intellectual celebrity status at that time around, women all over the world might have been attracted to him despite his two marriages and flirtatious behavior. Einstein’s personal life- which I never heard about during my physics class in college, except his General Theory of Relativity and various discoveries, somehow distressed me, particularly for failing to take care of his first wife and children.
Whatever it may be, whether we love him or hate him, whether he has been dubbed as world’s worst husband or best scientist, Albert Einstein was certainly a rare genius, and is one of the brightest minds the world has ever produced.
First Published: 9/13/2012 10:47:44 AM