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Unable to talk until he was three years old, Albert Einstein, the man whose name came to be synonymous with genius, was initially suspected of being mentally retarded. Einstein fared abysmally as a schoolboy in Munich, Germany, and was dismissed by his teachers as slow and lazy. Mathematics was his sole strong point: When Einstein quit school at the age of 15, his teacher claimed there was nothing left to teach him. He eventually won the 1921 Nobel prize for physics.
In 1905, Einstein proposed what is today called the special theory of relativity. He based his new theory on a reinterpretation of the classical principle of relativity, namely that the laws of physics had to have the same form in any frame of reference. As a second fundamental hypothesis, Einstein assumed that the speed of light remained constant in all frames of reference, as required by Maxwell's theory.
in 1905 Einstein showed how mass and energy were equivalent (E=mc2,
i.e. energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared). Einstein
was not the first to propose all the components of special theory of relativity.
His contribution is unifying important parts of classical mechanics and
Maxwell's electrodynamics. His work would eventually lead to the
control of atomic engery and the creation of the nuclear bomb.
One week before his death Einstein signed his last letter. It was a letter to Bertrand Russell in which he agreed that his name should go on a manifesto urging all nations to give up nuclear weapons. It is fitting that one of his last acts was to argue, as he had done all his life, for international peace.
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