The discoveries of Albert Einstein

By Mohi Uddin - No Comments
Albert Einstein was the most distinguished scientist of 20th century. His discoveries pioneered a major change in the scientific world. Many people inaccurately assume that Albert Einstein got his Nobel Prize for his achievement on theory of special relativity. However he was indeed awarded Nobel Prize for his discovery of the law of photo electric effect.

For this discovery, Albert Einstein got physics nobel prize during 1921. Photo electric effect is a phenomenon due to which metals give out electrons from their surface when light falls on them. Though this phenomenon was recognized to some extent at that time, the cause and the process was not clearly understood. Albert Einstein did elaborate research on Photo Electric Effect and interpreted the phenomenon scientifically as below:

- Small particles called photons exist in the Light. These photons carry energy proportional to the frequency of light.

- When light strikes upon metals, some electrons get energy from the photons and their energy is increased. Due to this, these electrons acquire a different energy level compared to other elelctrons and so they get abandoned from the surface of the metal. This rejection of electron results in the flow of electrons or a generation of electricity.

At that time there were two theories developed about the nature of light, that light acts as a particle and light acts as a wave. There were observations and explanations approving both view points. Albert Einstein’s interpretation on photo electric effect helped the understanding of light as both as particle and wave.

Practical uses of photo elecric effect

The discovery of photo electric effct fundamentally means another means of creating electricity. So this discovery led to evolution of solar cells, using by which, solar light is converted into elctrical charge. Today solar cells are widely used every where starting from space applications to domestic appliances, Solar energy is now an significant source of alternate energy.

Another application of photo electric effect is found in photo diodes. The photo diodes have large presence in fiber optics and telecommunication in the area of light detection.

1905 and its importance

The year 1905 marked a very important year in physics as Albert Einstein came up with four major scientific publications during that year. It is to be noted that though he got Nobel prize in 1921, the publication about photo electric effect was done much earlier in 1905.

Albert Einstein’s four publications during 1905 are:

a) His explanation about Brownian motion
b) Einstein’s explantion of photo electric effect
c) The famous e=mc2
d) Special theory of Relativity

The above scientific publications in particular the special theory of relativity influenced the world of physics in a major way and changed the direction of thinking during the later years. The famous E=mC2 equation was the starting point for the development of nuclear weapons but also used beneficially as in generation of nuclear electricity. Either way, his works have made a large impact on the scientific world as well as the general society.

Most likely no other year witnessed so many important major scientific publications that too by just one person. Recognizing the importance of 1905 as an distinguished leap in Physics, the centenary year 2005 was declared as world year of physics.

Albert Einstein’s other discoveries

During the later years, Albert Einstein published the ‘general theory of relativity’ and worked on his unified field theory both of which are much more advanced than his earlier discoveries. Infact when his theories were first publilshed, many of them were against the scientific theories at that time and many scientists did not approve him. But gradually in various experiments by other scientists, the accuracy of Albert Einstein’s calculations was clearly validated.

For example, when the general theory of relativity was first published in 1915, many opposed it. The concepts and the calculations were not understood and approved by fellow scientists. Albert Einstein suggested that his calculations about planetary movements can be verified during the solar eclipses subsequently. Only years later, during an eclipse, various observations were recorded proving the correctness of Albert Einstein’s theory.

Though Einstein’s theory was used in the development of nuclear bomb, Einstein did not endorse or advocate the development. He was against war and continued on his committment to use technology for peace until his death in 1955. His discoveries will stand against time echoing the brilliance and hardwork of a great scientist and human being.

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