Day in History 18 April – Albert Einstein

On this day in 1955, theoretical physicist, the father of modern physics, Albert Einstein died in Princeton Hospital in Princeton, New Jersey at the age of 76.  Born on 14 March 1879 in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire.  Einstein discovered the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics.  He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”.  Einstein was visiting the United States when Hitler came to power in 1933.  He did not go back to Germany, becoming a U. S. citizen in 1940.  In the summer of 1939, Einstein wrote a letter, with Leo Szilard, to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, alerting him of the possibility that Nazi Germany might be developing an atomic bomb.  The letter recommended that the U.S. government should become directly involved with uranium research and chain reaction research.  Einstein and Szilard, along with other refugees such as Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner, “regarded it as their responsibility to alert Americans to the possibility that German scientists might win the race to build an atomic bomb, and to warn that Hitler would be more than willing to resort to such a weapon.”  Einstein married twice;  Mileva Marić (1903-1919 divorce) and Elsa Löwenthal (1919-1936 her death).  On his religious belief, Einstein said; “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”  The day before he died, Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.  He refused surgery, saying: “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.”  I have always thought physics was fascinating and had I been born a little smarter, actually a lot smarter, perhpaps I would have been a physicist.  It is the study of the final frontier, or the next frontier.  The Final Footprint – Einstein was cremated and his cremains were possibly scattered around the grounds of The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  Einstein has been the subject of, or inspiration for, many novels, films, plays, and works of music.

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