Today would have been the 133rd birthday of the German-born theoretical physicist and mathematician Albert Einstein. It’s also Pi Day, when the mathematical constant π is celebrated, as 3.14 is the numerical equivalent of Pi in month/day date format.
In the US, Pi Day is celebrated in many ways. For example, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) releases its regular action admissions decisions on Pi Day. But MIT goes further than that. Today, for instance, it will release its decisions at Tau Time, ie, 6.28pm EDT.
MIT is also holding a Pi recitation contest, a pie-eating contest, and a pie-baking contest today for its students! The town of Princeton in New Jersey will also be holding Pi Day events in honour of the mathematical constant and also because Einstein lived in the town for more than 20 years.
Pi Day is celebrated on 14 March. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day to celebrate the mathematical constant
Einstein was born on 14 March 1879 at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany. His father was a featherbed salesman and his mother was an amateur violinist.
Often termed the father of modern physics, it was in 1905 that Einstein developed the theory of general relativity. He’s also renowned for his mass-energy equivalence formula E=mc2. Also in 1905, he wrote the paper Does the Inertia of a Body Depend upon its Energy Content? Einstein had been working as a patent clerk at the time.
General theory of relativity
Einstein formulated the general theory of relativity in 1916. Five years later, he received the Nobel Prize in physics based on his contribution to theoretical physics, especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. This paved the way for the field of quantum theory.
Einstein also delved into the thermal properties of light. His scientific research broke ground for the foundation of the photon theory of light.
During the 1920s he lectured in Europe, the US and the Far East.
In 1933, he renounced his citizenship of Germany for political reasons and emigrated to the US. He had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences at the time. Stateside, he took up the position of professor of theoretical physics at Princeton University. He became a US citizen in 1940 and retired from his Princeton post in 1945.
Among Einstein’s most important works his Special Theory of Relativity was published in 1905. Then in 1916 he published his paper on the general theory of relativity. Investigations on Theory of Brownian Movement was published in 1926, while The Evolution of Physics came out in 1938.
He also produced non-scientific works, including About Zionism (1930), Why War? (1933) and My Philosophy (1934).
According to Nobelprize.org, in the aftermath of World War II, Einstein was a leading figure in the World Government Movement. He was offered the presidency of the State of Israel, which he declined. He collaborated with Dr Chaim Weizmann in establishing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Einstein died in Princeton Hospital on 18 April 1955 at the age of 76 due to internal bleeding following the rupture of an aortic aneurysm.
His brain was preserved after his death, as Thomas Harvey, a pathologist in Princeton Hospital, removed it. Einstein’s other remains were cremated.
Harvey was subsequently fired from his position at the hospital for refusing to relinquish Einstein’s organs, as he had removed Einstein’s eyes, as well. Harvey dissected Einstein’s brain into around 240 blocks and preserved them for around 20 years in alcohol in two mason jars before they were discovered in 1978. Since then, these blocks have been studied by scientists to glean more insight into Einstein’s brain composition and how it might have worked.