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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Albert Einstein, a German born physicist and philosopher, changed the course of history during his lifetime.  Called the father of  modern physics, Einstein's influence on the scientific world  led to his winning the Nobel Prize in 1921. 

Known as a skeptic, his views led people to question everything and to realize that everything happens for a reason.  Consequently, people began to respect science more. Today, because of Einstein's influence, society waits to make decisions based on scientific data.

Einstein convinced the scientific world that its greatest efforts should work toward the good of mankind. By  creating more efficient machinery, greater technology would develop. Einstein was able to take the thoughts of the great philosophers and combine them with his scientific theories resulting in boundless waves of technological changes.  Today,  some of the practical applications of his theories include the development of the television, the remote control, the laser, the automatic door opener, and DVDs.

Einstein's theory of time and relativity changed the way that scientists viewed objects in motion.  His theory had two aspects: special and general relativity.

Special relativity=theory of spacetime

Geneal relativity=theory of gravitation

  Einstein cleverly explained his theory, when he said,

When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let a man sit on a hot stove for a minute, and it is longer than any hour.

However, Einstein's greatest contribution to the world was his work with the atom. He determined that atoms existed and that a mass of atoms carried powerful force.  Although Einstein never worked on the development of the atomic bomb, his formula led to nuclear weapons and fission reactors. Expressing his belief in nonviolence, Einstein felt his greatest mistake was alerting the United States to the possibility of the production of the atomic bomb.  Leadership, great intellect, passion for knowledge--these were the traits of the man recognized as the greatest scientific mind of the twentieth century.