Men Behind the Science
Einstein March 14, 1879 - April 18, 1955
was born to a feather bed salesman on March 14, 1879, in Ulm, Germany.
At age 10, Albert decided to feverishly read as much about science
as he could. The Einstein family moved to Milan in 1894 and became
year Albert attempted to skip his high school education by taking
an exam that would have allowed him to study to be an electrical
engineer at Swiss Polytechnic. He failed the arts portion and was
denied admittance. He eventually attended Zurich Polytechnic and
graduated with a teaching degree in math and physics. While studying
at the university he met Mileva Maric and fell in love. Albert fathered
an illegitimate child with her in 1901 which the couple put up for
before Mileva gave birth, Albert was unemployed and a future father.
He finally found work as a tutor in the fall. The next year his
father died and Albert took a position as a patent clerk in a Swiss
patent office. He would work there for the next seven years while
writing some of the most earth shattering papers on theoretical
physics in his spare time.
married Mileva in 1903. They had a baby boy named Hans the next
Einstein earned a doctorate from the University of Zurich. In 1908
he lectured at the University of Bern and in 1909 became a professor
of Theoretical Physics at the University of Zurich. Finally Albert
realized he does not need his patent office job. In 1911, Albert
became a professor a German University. In 1914 he became the director
of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin and physics professor
at the University of Berlin.
Albert separated in July of 1914 and began the divorce process the
Albert became very ill. His cousin, Elsa, moved in with him to nurse
him back to health. They fell in love and married May 29, 1919.
Albert received the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1933, fearing the
anti-jew Nazi movement in Germany, Albert and Elsa moved to Princeton,
New Jersey, USA. It was there Einstein eventually died of heart
failure on April 16, at age 76.
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July 18, 1853 - February 4, 1928
Antoon Lorentz was born in Arnhem, Netherlands. He Attended to University
of Leiden in 1870 (where he would eventually earn his doctorate),
but returned two years later to Arnhem to teach.
In his doctoral
thesis in 1875, Lorentz built on the work of Maxwell, refining his
electromagnetic theory to better model refraction and reflection
of light. In 1878 he became a professor of mathematical physics
at the University of Leiden.
a student of Lorentz named Zeeman developed a theory explaining
the effect of strong magnetic fields on light, known as the Zeeman
Effect. In 1902, Lorentz and Zeeman jointly received the Nobel Prize
in Physics for this work.
Lorentz finished developing a complete set of equations describing
what happened to an object at speeds approaching the speed of light.
In 1905 he became a member of the Royal Society. In 1908 the Society
honored him with the Rumford Medal and in 1918 they awarded him
the Copley Medal.
Lorentz was the chairman of the Solvay Conference in Brussels. This
conference looked at the incompatibility between classical physics
and quantum theory. Like Einstein, Lorentz never fully accepted
died in Haarlem, Netherlands, at the age of 74. His funeral was
on Friday, February 10th, and according to O. W. Richardson, "At
the stroke of twelve the State telegraph and telephone services
of Holland were suspended for three minutes as a revered tribute
to the greatest man Holland has produced in our time."
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December 9, 1852 - May 9, 1931
Michelson was born in Strzelno, Poland. At the age of 3 his family
moved to the United States, first to New York, then to Nevada, and
eventually to San Francisco.
the United States Naval Academy in Maryland at age 17. Three years
after graduation, he took a teaching position at the academy.
10, 1877, Michelson married Margaret McLean. They would later divorce,
after having three children together. Michelson then married Edna
Stanton with whom he had three more children.
he became a professor of physics at the Case School of Applied Science
in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1889 he accepted a professorship at Clark
University in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1892 Michelson became
the head of the physics department of the new University of Chicago.
In 1923 he was elected to president of the National Academy of Sciences,
where he presided until 1927. He retired in 1929.
was determined to measure the speed of light. In 1877, Michelson
accurately measured the speed of light with $10 worth of equipment.
In 1923, he attempted to measure light again. He came up with a
measurement of 299,798 km/sec. This stood for ten years until the
figure 299,774 was obtained after analyzing the results of Michelson's
last experiment during which he died and was unable to see the results
of his work.
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August 12, 1887 - January 4, 1961
Erwin Schrödinger was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of a small factory owner. As an only child, he was privately taught by tutors and his well-educated parents until the age of 11, when he attended normal school.
While at the University of Vienna, Schrödinger met a young physicist named Friedrich Hasenhörl. Schrödinger was inspired to get his Ph.D. in physics, and he worked at the University of Vienna until the start of World War I. During the war his teacher Hasenhörl was killed, and he served as an artillery officer on the Italian front. Because of the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire during the war, Schrödinger's hopes of becoming a professor at the University of Czernowitz were ruined. After the war, Schrödinger got married and worked at several different jobs before eventually becoming the chair of the physics department at University of Zurich.
Schrödinger became interested in wave mechanics when he read a paper by Einstein. The theory he came up with said the way electrons move inside an atom can be described as a wave and became known as Schrödinger's wave equation. At that time, Heisenburg's matrix mechanics was a mathematical explanation that was thought to conflict with Schrödinger's wave equation. However, Schrödinger later proved that the two models were identical.
In 1927, Schrödinger was offered a prestigious position at the University of Berlin. He taught there until the rise of Hitler, when it was becoming dangerous for many scientists to remain in Germany. In 1933, he left for Oxford University, where he discovered that he'd won the Nobel Prize along with Paul Dirac.
He went to Austria after a few years and worked at a university position, but lost his job when Germany invaded Austria. He fled to Ireland, but returned to Austria after 17 years, where he died.
O'Connor, J. and Robertson, E.)
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