Einstein's Unfinished Symphony
The Theory of Everything
|Einstein's Unfinished Symphony
The Theory of Everything
Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works. His great intelligence and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with genius.
As Albert Einstein lay on his deathbed, he asked only for his glasses,
his writing implements and his latest equations. He knew he was dying,
yet he continued his work.
In those final hours of his life, while
fading in and out of consciousness, he was working on what he hoped
would be his greatest work of all. It was a project of monumental
complexity. It was a project that he hoped would unlock the mind of God.
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history.
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". The latter was pivotal in establishing quantum theory within physics.
Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity.
He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity.
He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules.
He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light.
In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe as a whole. He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, and did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences.
He settled in the U.S., becoming a citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he helped alert President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Germany might be developing an atomic weapon, and recommended that the U.S. begin similar research; this eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project.
Einstein was in support of defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced using the new discovery of nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, together with Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons.
Einstein taught physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.
Einstein's Big Idea
Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works.
His great intelligence and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with genius.
The theory of everything is a putative theory of theoretical physics that fully explains and links together all known physical phenomena, and predicts the outcome of any experiment that could be carried out in principle.
The theory of everything is also called the final theory.
Many candidate theories of everything have been proposed by theoretical physicists during the twentieth century, but none have been confirmed experimentally. The primary problem in producing a TOE is that general relativity and quantum mechanics are hard to unify.
This is one of the unsolved problems in physics.
Initially, the term 'theory of everything' was used with an ironic connotation to refer to various overgeneralized theories. For example, a great-grandfather of Ijon Tichy—a character from a cycle of Stanisław Lem's science fiction stories of the 1960s—was known to work on the "General Theory of Everything".
Physicist John Ellis claims to have introduced the term into the technical literature in an article in Nature in 1986.
Over time, the term stuck in popularizations of quantum physics to describe a theory that would unify or explain through a single model the theories of all fundamental interactions and of all particles of nature: general relativity for gravitation, and the standard model of elementary particle physics — which includes quantum mechanics — for electromagnetism, the two nuclear interactions, and the known elementary particles.