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Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Theoretical Physicist

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is one of the greatest physicists of all time, especially famous for his theory of relativity. Lesser known is that from 1908 onwards Einstein maintained an intensive correspondence with the Dutch physicist and Nobel Prize winner Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, and that Einstein regarded him as his great example and mentor. For the development of the theory of relativity, he felt indebted to the preliminary work that Lorentz had already done in this area. At first the theory was even called the 'Lorentz-Einstein theory'.

Albert Einstein

Professor Lorentz and Teylers' Physics Laboratory

Professor H.A. Lorentz was appointed director of the Physics Laboratory of Teylers Museum in 1909. He remained so until his death in 1928. During this period, Einstein visited him at least five times: the first time in 1911. In Teylers Museum we still keep a letter from Lorentz to Einstein, in which he invites him to visit the museum and his laboratory.

Einstein and the Theory of Relativity

Einstein was appointed professor at Humboldt University and director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in 1914.He published his general theory of relativity during the First World War. The theory not only revolutionized physics, but also reached further due to the new views on space and time. Lorentz's efforts were very important in this regard: he also brought the theory of relativity to the attention of non-German scientists internationally.

Einstein and the Nobel Prize

In 1920, Einstein was appointed professor by special appointment in Leiden. In 1921, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his services to theoretical physics and especially for his quantum mechanical explanation of the photoelectric effect.

Albert Einstein

Einstein in the Second World War

When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, the Jewish Einstein was forced to leave for the United States, where he became a professor of theoretical physics in New York until his retirement in 1945. When in 1939 some American physicists decided to to develop an atomic bomb, they asked Einstein, as an authoritative physicist, to write a letter to President Roosevelt and point out the possibilities of nuclear fission for designing a military weapon. However, after the destruction of Hiroshima, Einstein became a champion of international peace and human rights, just like his great example Lorentz.

Einstein's Popularity

Einstein was an idealist, opposed to all forms of coercion and militarism; a free thinker in religious matters. His great popularity was partly due to his social compassion, integrity, simplicity, humor and amiability.

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