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1905, Einstein's miraculous year

4 articles published in Annalen der Physik

 Automatic translationAutomatic translation Category: light and photons
Updated June 01, 2013

Albert Einstein was born March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Württemberg average city in Germany.
Einstein was asking simple questions, such as children and the issues revealed in him, unsuspected truths.
He sought all his life, the hidden order behind the appearance of phenomena. In Einstein's world view, time, reality, is listed in the tree brain.
These links allow us to interpret what our senses perceive. For example, he wondered how it would appear the world, if he fell in free fall in an elevator. Einstein himself is formed by reading the texts of the greatest physicists of the time (Maxwell, Hertz, Planck). He wants to do research. After studying at the Polytechnic of Zurich in 1902, he worked at the patent office in Bern. Since 1905, E = mc2 is the most famous mathematical formula, Einstein was only 26 years.
That year he published five articles, which have revolutionized physics. Among these articles, there is his thesis that surprise, only 23 pages, he goes to the University of Zurich and develops in its 23 pages, a relatively new method for measuring the relative amounts of the molecules. This thesis is entitled Eine neue Bestimmung der Moleküldimensionen ("A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions". He received his Ph.D. January 15, 1906. The four other articles that made his popularity, will be published in the biggest German magazine "Annalen der Physik".
The German university has seen in the articles of a stranger, not even supported by his supervisor, a revolutionary vision of physics. The first article, published in March 1905, is revolutionary.
Einstein entitled "On a heuristic point of view concerning the production and transformation of light".

nota: Heuristic simply means we do not conduct research rigorously, according to scientific laws, but says a line of research to which, there is something to find.


Light defined by Maxwell, is considered since 1840, as a wave, as the sound propagates in the air. But if one removes the air, the sound disappears, the light, it continues to spread. Light travels in the vacuum of space but not the sound.
Physicists of the 19th century invented the ether substrate which supports intangible in the air to carry the light. At the end of the 19th century, two physicists, Albert Abraham Michelson (1852-1931) and Edward Williams Morley (1838-1923) seek to determine the flow of the ether by measuring the speed of light.
The speed of light must be different given the motion of the Earth in space. They expected to measure a change, however small this speed, but the result was surprising, all rays of light had the same speed.
The light does not respect the law of composition of velocities.
In December 1900, Max Planck solved the riddle of the black body, its form perfectly describes the light emitted by a body depending on its temperature.
But Planck's desperate, his equation seems to contradict the very nature of light. It was a short step to say that the light no longer behaves as a wave, but it does not cross, he sees a mathematical oddity.
In the early 20th century, a new definition of that light is required, but will have the courage to put everything in question ?
We had a rebellious, revolutionary and unethical to give up the achievements of physics.
Albert Einstein took his chance in 1905, he finds that there is an inconsistency between Maxwell's equations and assumptions Planck. We had small grains (quanta) of light to the Planck hypothesis is correct, and concludes by stating that light behaves as both a wave and a particle flux. Max Planck, director of the journal, Annalen der Physik, brings his scientific backing to Einstein. It was not until 1920 that the elementary particles "quanta" were called "photons."

 Albert Einstein

Image: We had a rebellious, revolutionary and unethical to give up the achievements of physics.
Albert Einstein, was an analysis of the concept of time. There is no major world clock is what tells his theory. His fame appear until 1909.

Brownian motion


In May 1905, Einstein published, also in the great German journal "Annalen der Physik", a second article, rather subtle, on Brownian motion, described by Robert Brown in 1827. The botanist noted in nature, that stones contain water, in which there are pollen grains. These pollen grains are moving while they are locked up for millions of years.
How is it that these pollen grains move?
In the same way the ink drops in a liquid, are diluted because of the constant agitation of the particles. This is the Brownian motion.
For over 70 years no physicist could not explain this phenomenon as the existence of molecules, these small particles were not found.
Brownian motion is explained in 1900 by Einstein, Smoluchowski and Marian by Louis Bachelier.
The movement made by pollen suspended in the air, for example, in a sunbeam through a shady forest, due to the existence of molecules.
Einstein explains Brownian motion by the molecular and atomic hypothesis, and calculates the size of molecules.


According to Einstein, the molecules would derive their kinetic energy to heat. Particle motion and temperature are related. Temperature causes a random motion of particles.
This article provides a theoretical proof of the existence of atoms and molecules.
It is the work of Jean Baptiste Perrin in 1908 will check the predictions of Einstein.
We "saw" the atoms in the 1980s, thanks to electronic telescopes.

Nota: The Brownian motion was first described in 1827 by the botanist Robert Brown, observing the movement of pollen grains of clarkia pulchella (a species of wildflower in North America).
Brownian motion or Wiener process is a mathematical description of random motion of a "large" particle immersed in a fluid and is subjected to any other interaction that shocks with "small" molecules of the surrounding fluid. The result is a disordered movement of the large particle.

 The Brownian motion

Image: Brownian motion of a particle is a random motion, very irregular in the large particle knocking on small particles.

The death of the ether


In September 1905, and still in the German journal "Annalen der Physik," appears the third article of Einstein. The third article entitled "electrodynamics of moving bodies", is even more revolutionary, because the intuition of Einstein will break with Newtonian physics. Einstein attacks the assumption of a space and absolute time, as defined by Newtonian mechanics.
It also addresses the existence of the ether, inert interstellar medium should support the light, like water or air support sound waves as they move.
This article is the originator of the theory of relativity.
ΔE = Δmc2, Einstein redefined certain laws of nature, but his theory has limits, that is why it is called theory of relativity.
Only when objects move at high speed in a straight line close to the observer, they shrink and clocks slow down.


This article leads to two conclusions: there is no ether, and the time and space are relative. Einstein builds these two notions of space and time. Many historians of science recalls the work of predecessors, Hendrik Antoon Lorentz and Henri Poincare in respect of special relativity. The exact contribution of Einstein from Henri Poincare and some other physicists today is quite controversial.

Image: simplified representation of the space on a flat two-dimensional curved by gravity. When the space increases the surface stretches and bends.
The theory of relativity is a theory even more extensive than we do not yet understand. "It is absolutely possible that beyond what our senses perceive, hide unsuspected worlds." Albert Einstein Nobel Prize in 1921.

 space-time curved by gravity

Inertia of energy


The last article, derives from the previous article, it contains just two pages and is published immediately after the third in September 1905.
This article is entitled "Inertia of energy," and ends, not with E = mc2 but ΔE = Δmc2.
The variation of the energy content of a system is equal to the change of mass multiplied by c2, the speed of light. This idea explains that when a massive body absorbs energy, its mass is changed.
This energy is calculated by multiplying the mass by the square of the speed of light. We now understand that the power of the energy contained in matter is enormous, even when a body is inert.
E is the energy expressed in joules, m the mass in kg and c is the speed of light in m / s.
Physicists understand as the mass contains a hidden energy, enormous.
The hidden energy, corresponding to 1 kg of matter is significant because it is 9 x 1016 joules (1kw / h = 3,600,000 J). This corresponds to the energy produced by a nuclear reactor with a capacity of 1400 MW for two years.


While this formula is considered a theoretical possibility, the atomic physicists find that protons and neutrons are related to each other, by an incredible force. This force explains how our sun and the enormous destructive power of the atomic bomb.
The Sun emits continuously, from 4.57 billion years of energy. The photon flux in space to send it to lose mass and it will last another 5 billion years. The Sun gets its energy from nuclear fusion reactions that turn hydrogen into helium in its core, at a temperature of 15 million degrees.
Consumption that is the loss of mass of the Sun is 4 million tons of hydrogen per second, in fact it turns 564 million tons of hydrogen into 560 million tons of helium.
This plant is truly monstrous thermonuclear, it produces an enormous source of energy of 380 billion billion megawatts.
This phenomenon is based on the formula E = mc2.

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