Einstein Relatively Easy

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Einstein's Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper (On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies), his third paper published in the stellar year of 1905, was received on June 30 and published on September 26 in the Annalen der Physic scientific journal.

The fact that the paper had been accepted and published without difficulties three months later by this prestigious journal was a good sign for Einstein and gave the hitherto completely unknown physicist good hope for receiving very shortly some reactions, should they be severe criticisms.

Unfortunately, despite his efforts to carefully pick through the next publications of the Annalen der Physic journal, Einstein could not find any one single reference to his theory. Retrospectively, this sounds almost incredible!

And if in April 1906 he got promoted to become a second-class technical expert at the Federal Patent Office in Bern - with a wage of 4,500 Swiss francs per year instead of 3,500 -, the publication of special theory of relativity had nothing to do with it; this appointment was only the result of Friedrich Haller's great esteem for his employee in the light of the experience gained thus far at the Office[1].

Actually, that is only in March 1906 that Einstein received the first feedback from a 'professional' physicist he had been impatiently waiting for and not from he least important one: Max Planck[2], at this time the Europe's revered monarch of theoretical physics wrote him a letter filled with vibrant enthusiasm, even if punctuated with some few reserves. Planck vetted Einstein’s papers, and the one on relativity had “immediately aroused my lively attention,” he later recalled. As soon as it was published, Planck gave a lecture on relativity at the University of Berlin and thanks to his influence, this theory was soon widely accepted in Germany and helped to ligitimize it among other physicists.

Whatever disappointment Einstein felt just after the publication thereafter dissipated and he could exulte in a letter to his friend Maurice Solovine (27 April 1906): "My papers are much appreciated and are giving rise to further investigations. Professor Planck (Berlin) has recently written to me about that".

[1]With his courteousness, his modesty and his humorous approach to life, Einstein was also very liked as a person.

[2]Max Planck (1858-1947) was Professor of Physics at the University of Berlin and Director of its Institute for Theoretical Physics..

 

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"Five or six weeks elapsed between the conception of the idea for the special theory of relativity and the completion of the relevant publication" Einstein to Carl Seeling on March 11, 1952

"Every boy in the streets of Göttingen understands more about four-dimensional geometry than Einstein. Yet, in spite of that, Einstein did the work and not the mathematicians."
David Hilbert

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