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Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein is considered to be one of the greatest known scientists of human history. He was well known as a physicist for developing his famous theory of relativity. His theories stressed the similarity of mass and energy and developed an entirely new way of thinking about space, time, and gravitation. His theories of relativity and gravitation modernized scientific and philosophic inquiry.

Born on March 14, 1879, Einstein was raised in Ulm, Wurttemberg, Germany. As a young boy, Einstein showed a unique interest in science and how things work. At age five, Hermann Einstein, Einstein's father, showed him a pocket compass. Even though he was only five, the strange movement of the compass needle quickly impressed Einstein.

Einstein was particularly fascinated on how the needle kept pointing the same direction no matter which way the compass was turned. Einstein attended a public school in Aarau and in Munich, Switzerland. Einstein later studied physics and mathematics at the Swiss Polytechnic Institute in Zurich, graduating in 1900.

From 1902 to1909, Einstein worked as an examiner at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern. Even though the job didn't require knowledge in physics or math, it gave Einstein two things. First, he got to encounter with some of the important inventions of the day. Second, during his free time, Einstein involved himself in scientific investigations. During this period, Einstein made three of his greatest contributions to scientific knowledge.

In 1905, Einstein wrote three separate papers to Annalen der Physik (Annals of Physics), a German scientific journal. Each of the three papers became the source for a new branch of physics. One of the papers, for example, stated, "light could be thought of as a stream of tiny particles." This idea later became an important part of the quantum theory. Another concerned Brownian motion, an "irregular motion of microscopic particles suspended in liquid of gas," which defined the atomic theory of matter. The last paper, titled "The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies," talked about one of Einstein's most famous theories; relativity, known as the "special theory of relativity."

His third theory confirmed the relativity of time, which was previously an unimaginable idea. Einstein explained relativity clearly as, "When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity." Later, in 1915, Einstein publicized that he had developed a general theory of relativity based on his "special theory." This general theory tried to express all the

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