Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Einstein's centenary year

It�s Albert�s world. We just live in it. - - MSNBC.com

Nice article. We definitely understand the importance of Einstein's contributions - but owing everything to Einstein is a quite a stretch. He provided seminal contributions to Physics by propounding the theory of Relativity and explaining the PhotoElectric effect, while not exactly being close to Quantum Mechanics.

But sometimes I wonder, Einstein or any other great man is a product of his times. Why, even Isaac Newton, whose intellectual achievements far outstrip any other scientist, said that he stood on the shoulders of giants!

Einstein was definitely great - but Newton far greater. In Newton's time (for a good book on Newton read James Gleick's biography of Newton), there was no scientific temper and theology ruled peoples' minds. Newton was also from the relatively intellectually backward England (at that time (1642) it definitely was just coming out of the dark ages). His achievements in the face of all such odds are some of the greatest that can be attributed to a human mind.

Going to another thought, if Newton or Einstein had not discovered what they are famous far, I am sure some one or the other would have done the same thing at around the same time. For example - Leibniz had 'invented' Calculus independent of Newton and Planck would have come around to use the Quantum Theory to explain the Photo Electric effect. Also Einstein's formulations were based on the work of Lorentz and Minkowski. So I am sure some one or the other would have discovered what Einstein and Newton did and we would be singing their glories now.

I, however, see these celebrations of centenaries and anniversaries as the celebrations of Human Achievement, as an ode to the indefatigable Human Spirit, which always takes us somewhere. Looking at that spirit, all I can do is to marvel at it and be grateful for being a part of it.

But the author of the article laments the fact that an Einstein would not be recognized today as Science has become a bureaucratic enterprise with peer-reviewed journals and professional politics. I tend to agree with the author here. Another thing is that science has 'advanced' to a stage where it would be impossible to do anything significant without a grant from the government - which would again be based on a scientist's tangible achievements rather than his innate ability to discover and theorize.

I end by repeating that we should all recognize these celebrations as not those glorifying certain individuals but as those glorifying the human spirit and humankind which thrives in the face of its own foibles.

1 comment:

Gary Novak said...

Your comments on Einstein indicate more healthy skepticism than usual, but would you be surprised to learn that Einstein can be proven wrong—there is no real relativity. The proof is that energy is misdefined, while the so-called "theory of special relativity" is based on energy (E=MC²).

Here's a description of the proof, and I have more details on my web site.

A rocket uses twice as much fuel to stop or accelerate a 4 kg object dropped 1 meter as a 1 kg object dropped 4 meters. Force times distance is proportional to ½mv² for an accelerating mass. Both objects acquire the same ½mv², but not with the same fuel use.

Therefore, both masses do not have the same energy; the rocket does not transform energy in proportion to ½mv²; ½mv² is not kinetic energy; and a gallon of fuel does not produce a consistent amount of ½mv².
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A rocket uses the same amount of fuel to stop or accelerate a 4 kg object dropped for 1 second as a 1 kg object dropped for 4 seconds. Force times time is proportional to mv for an accelerating mass. Both objects acquire the same mv and used the same amount of fuel.

Therefore, both masses have the same amount of energy; the rocket transforms energy in proportion to mv; mv is kinetic energy; and a gallon of fuel produces a consistent amount of mv.

The math is on my energy web site, found at www.nov55.com