OPINION and FACT—EINSTEIN in POPULAR SCIENCE
Astronomy is indebted to Einstein; and in many ways, he helped propel the subject of astrophysics to the forefront of the public’s consciousness. Replacing Newton’s paradigm of gravity was no easy task, either. In my very humble opinion, his ranking stands with Newton and Archimedes for outstanding scientists. And, although there have been many outstanding scientists who walked upon the Earth in the past 3000 years, my reasons for those three are (to me) simply justified. Not only did each individual have revolutionary ideas, but each invented a new mathematical insight to explain the Universe—a better way to quantify a physically difficult concept. (Whether or not any “current” scientists achieve that pinnacle—is uncertain.)
Einstein’s insights into gravity and cosmology appear mathematically foreign to most of us uninitiated with Tensor Calculus. His approach is distinctly algebraic, but the shorthand is primarily geometrical. The latest (?) findings—or postmortem photographs of his brain—tend to lend credence to his purported geometrical reasoning processes.
Perhaps, one way to appreciate his many discoveries is to attempt to sift through his publications. According to Wikipedia, (see link at end of blog), and the Einstein archives co-hosted by the American Physical Society and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the topics of scientific publications range from thermodynamics, magnetism, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics to (of course) relativity. His reported aversion to quantum mechanics may be traced (possibly) to his personal philosophy of “a determined Universe.” In short, he was unable to reconcile the statistical nature of quantum mechanics with his view of the cosmos. One little known fact is his patent for a noisless-refrigerator—cooled through an electro-magnetic pump (see link at end of blog.)
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