Albert Einstein

Hermann Minkowski and the four-dimensional Space-Time

Hermann Minkowski and the four-dimensional Space-Time

On June 22, 1864, German mathematician Hermann Minkowski was born. Minkowski developed the geometry of numbers and used geometrical methods to solve problems in number theory, mathematical physics, and the theory of relativity. But he is perhaps best known for his work in relativity, in which he showed in 1907 that his former student Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity can be understood geometrically as a theory of four-dimensional space–time, since known as the “Minkowski…
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The Bose-Einstein Condensate brings Quantum Theory to the Macroscopic Scale

The Bose-Einstein Condensate brings Quantum Theory to the Macroscopic Scale

On June 5, 1995, the very first Bose-Einstein condensate was experimentally produced by Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman at the University of Colorado. A Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of matter of a dilute gas of bosons cooled to temperatures very close to absolute zero. Under such conditions, a large fraction of the bosons occupy the lowest quantum state, at which point quantum effects become apparent on a macroscopic scale. For…
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Rudolf Mössbauer and the Recoilless Nuclear Resonance Absorption

Rudolf Mössbauer and the Recoilless Nuclear Resonance Absorption

On January 31, 1929, German physicist and Nobel Laureate Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer was born. He is best known for his 1957 discovery of recoilless nuclear resonance fluorescence for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics. This effect, called the Mössbauer effect, is the basis for Mössbauer spectroscopy. “Explain it! The most important thing is, that you are able to explain it! You will have exams, there you have to…
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Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

On January 5, 1921, Swiss author and dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt was born. Dürrenmatt was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II. The politically active author‘s work included avant-garde dramas, philosophical crime novels, and macabre satire. Especially his play “The Physicists” (1961) deals with questions of scientific ethics and humanity‘s ability to handle its intellectual responsibilities. “A story is not finished, until it has taken…
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John Michell and the Effect of Gravity on Light

John Michell and the Effect of Gravity on Light

Probably on December 25, 1724, English natural philosopher and geologist John Michell was born. He is best known as both a theorist and an experimenter, who was the first to propose the effects of gravity on light, later resulting in the physics of general relativity and black holes. John Michell – Background John Michell was born in Eakring, Nottinghamshire, UK, the son of Gilbert Michell, a priest, and Obedience Gerrard. However, his exact…
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Eugene Wigner and the Structure of the Atomic Nucleus

Eugene Wigner and the Structure of the Atomic Nucleus

On November 17, 1902, Hungarian American theoretical physicist and mathematician Eugene Paul Wigner was born. He is best known for for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles for which he shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics with Maria Goeppert. [4] “A possible explanation of the physicist’s use of mathematics to formulate his laws of nature…
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Max von Laue and the Diffraction of X-Rays in Crystals

Max von Laue and the Diffraction of X-Rays in Crystals

On October 9, 1879, German physicist Max von Laue was born. Von Laue received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals. “In the beginning was mechanics.” – Max von Laue (1950). History of physics Max von Laue – Early Years Max von Laue was born in Pfaffendorf, near Koblenz, Germany. His parents were Julius Laue (1848-1927), a Prussian real secret war councilor…
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Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

On August 8, 1902, English theoretical physicist Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was born. Dirac is best known for his fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. “The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.” — Paul Dirac Paul Dirac Background Paul Dirac was born…
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Karl Popper and the Philosophy of Science

Karl Popper and the Philosophy of Science

On July 28, 1902, Austrian-British philosopher Sir Karl Raimund Popper was born. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. Popper is known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on the scientific method, in favour of empirical falsification: A theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can and should be scrutinized by decisive…
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John Wheeler and the Golden Age of General Relativity

John Wheeler and the Golden Age of General Relativity

On July 9, 1911, American theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler was born. Wheeler worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission as well as with Albert Einstein, with whom he tried to achieve Einstein’s vision of a unified field theory. He is also known for popularizing the term black hole, and for coining the terms quantum foam, and wormhole. Background John Wheeler John Archibald Wheeler grew up in a Unitarian…
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