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Albert Einstein

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Jason
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2007, 01:35:11 pm »



Indian poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and Einstein during their widely-publicized July 14, 1930 conversation

Politics

With increasing public demands, his involvement in political, humanitarian and academic projects in various countries and his new acquaintances with scholars and political figures from around the world, Einstein was less able to get the productive isolation that, according to biographer Ronald W. Clark, he needed in order to work (Clark 1971). Due to his fame and genius, Einstein found himself called on to give conclusive judgments on matters that had nothing to do with theoretical physics or mathematics. He was not timid, and he was aware of the world around him, with no illusion that ignoring politics would make world events fade away. His very visible position allowed him to speak and write frankly, even provocatively, at a time when many people of conscience could only flee to the underground or keep doubts about developments within their own movements to themselves for fear of internecine fighting. Einstein flouted the ascendant Nazi movement, tried to be a voice of moderation in the tumultuous formation of the State of Israel and braved anti-communist politics and resistance to the civil rights movement in the United States. He became honorary president of the League against Imperialism created in Brussels in 1927.
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2007, 01:21:42 pm »

Albert Einstein seen here with his wife Elsa Einstein and Zionist leaders, including future President of Israel Chaim Weizmann, his wife Dr. Vera Weizmann, Menachem Ussishkin and Ben-Zion Mossinson on arrival in New York City in 1921.
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2007, 01:23:38 pm »

Zionism

Einstein was a cultural Zionist. In 1931, The Macmillan Company published About Zionism: Speeches and Lectures by Professor Albert Einstein. Querido, an Amsterdam publishing house, collected eleven of Einstein's essays into a 1933 book entitled Mein Weltbild, translated to English as The World as I See It; Einstein's foreword dedicates the collection "to the Jews of Germany". In the face of Germany's rising militarism Einstein wrote and spoke for peace (American Museum of Natural History 2002).


Despite his years as a proponent of Jewish history and culture, Einstein publicly stated reservations about the proposal to partition the British-supervised British Mandate of Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish countries. In a 1938 speech, "Our Debt to Zionism", he said: "I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain - especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state." (Rowe & Schulmann 2007) The United Nations did divide the mandate, demarcating the borders of several new countries including the State of Israel, and war broke out immediately. Einstein was one of the authors of a 1948 letter to the New York Times criticizing Menachem Begin's Revisionist Herut (Freedom) Party for the Deir Yassin massacre (Einstein et al. 1948). Einstein served on the Board of Governors of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In his Will of 1950, Einstein bequeathed literary rights to his writings to The Hebrew University, where many of his original documents are held in the Albert Einstein Archives (Albert Einstein Archives 2007).

When President Chaim Weizmann died in 1952, Einstein was asked to be Israel's second president but he declined. He wrote: "I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it." (Princeton Online 1995)



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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2007, 01:24:47 pm »

Nazism

In January 1933, Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. One of the first actions of Hitler's administration was the "Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums" (the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service) which removed Jews and politically suspect government employees (including university professors) from their jobs, unless they had demonstrated their loyalty to Germany by serving in World War I. In December 1932, in response to this growing threat, Einstein had prudently traveled to the USA. For several years he had been wintering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and also was a guest lecturer at Abraham Flexner's newly founded Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

The Einstein family bought a house in Princeton (where Elsa died in 1936), and Einstein remained an integral contributor to the Institute for Advanced Study until his death in 1955. During the 1930s and into World War II, Einstein wrote affidavits recommending United States visas for a huge number of Jews from Europe trying to flee persecution, raised money for Zionist organizations and was in part responsible for the formation, in 1933, of the International Rescue Committee (Princeton Online 1995).

Meanwhile in Germany, a campaign to eliminate Einstein's work from the German lexicon as unacceptable "Jewish physics" (Jüdische physik) was led by Nobel laureates Philipp Lenard and Johannes Stark. Deutsche Physik activists published pamphlets and even textbooks denigrating Einstein, and instructors who taught his theories were blacklisted, including Nobel laureate Werner Heisenberg who had debated quantum probability with Bohr and Einstein. Philipp Lenard claimed that the mass–energy equivalence formula needed to be credited to Friedrich Hasenöhrl to make it an Aryan creation.

Einstein became a citizen of the United States in 1940, although he retained his Swiss citizenship.
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2007, 01:25:34 pm »



Albert Einstein receiving his certificate of American citizenship from Judge Phillip Forman.
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2007, 01:26:30 pm »

The atomic bomb

Concerned scientists, many of them refugees from European anti-Semitism in the U.S., recognized the possibility that German scientists were working toward developing an atomic bomb. They knew that Einstein's fame might make their fears more believable. In 1939, Leo Szilárd and Einstein wrote a letter to U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt warning that the Third Reich might be developing nuclear weapons based on their own research.

The United States took stock of this warning, and within five years, the U.S. created its own nuclear weapons, and used them on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. According to chemist and author Linus Pauling, Einstein later expressed regret about the Szilárd-Einstein letter.

Along with other prominent individuals such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Einstein in 1947 participated in a "National Conference on the German Problem," which produced a declaration stating that "any plans to resurrect the economic and political power of Germany… [were] dangerous to the security of the world."
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2007, 01:28:05 pm »

Cold War era

When he was a visible figure working against the rise of Nazism, Einstein had sought help and developed working relationships in both the West and what was to become the Soviet bloc. After World War II, enmity between the former allies became a very serious issue for people with international resumes. To make things worse, during the first days of McCarthyism Einstein was writing about a single world government; it was at this time that he wrote, "I do not know how the third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth — rocks!" (Calaprice 2005, p. 173) In a 1949 Monthly Review article entitled "Why Socialism?" Albert Einstein described a chaotic capitalist society, a source of evil to be overcome, as the "predatory phase of human development" (Einstein 1949). With Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell, Einstein lobbied to stop nuclear testing and future bombs. Days before his death, Einstein signed the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, which led to the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

Einstein was a member of several civil rights groups, including the Princeton chapter of the NAACP. He served as co-chair with Paul Robeson of the American Crusade to End Lynching. When the aged W.E.B. DuBois was accused of being a communist spy, Einstein volunteered as a character witness and the case was dismissed shortly afterward. Einstein's friendship with activist Paul Robeson lasted 20 years.

In 1946, Einstein collaborated with Rabbi Israel Goldstein, Middlesex heir C. Ruggles Smith, and activist attorney George Alpert on the Albert Einstein Foundation for Higher Learning, Inc., which was formed to create a Jewish-sponsored secular university, open to all students, on the grounds of the former Middlesex College in Waltham, Massachusetts. Middlesex was chosen in part because it was accessible from both Boston and New York City, Jewish cultural centers of the USA. Their vision was a university "deeply conscious both of the Hebraic tradition of Torah looking upon culture as a birthright, and of the American ideal of an educated democracy." (Reis 1998) The collaboration was stormy, however. Finally, when Einstein wanted to appoint British economist Harold J. Laski as the university's president, Alpert wrote that Laski was "a man utterly alien to American principles of democracy, tarred with the Communist brush." (Reis 1998) Einstein withdrew his support and barred the use of his name (New York Times 1947). The university opened in 1948 as Brandeis University. In 1953, Brandeis offered Einstein an honorary degree, but he declined (Reis 1998).

Given Einstein's links to Germany and Zionism, his socialistic ideals, and his perceived links to Communist figures, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation kept a file on Einstein that grew to 1,427 pages. Many of the documents in the file were sent to the FBI by concerned citizens, some objecting to his immigration while others asked the FBI to protect him (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2005).

Although Einstein had long been sympathetic to the notion of vegetarianism, it was only near the start of 1954 that he adopted a strict vegetarian diet


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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2007, 01:29:41 pm »

Death

On April 17, 1955, Albert Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an aortic aneurism. He took a draft of a speech he was preparing for a television appearance commemorating the State of Israel's seventh anniversary with him to the hospital, but he did not live long enough to complete it. (Albert Einstein Archives 1955) He died in Princeton Hospital early the next morning at the age of 76. Einstein's remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered (O'Connor & Robertson 1997).

Before the cremation, Princeton Hospital pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey removed Einstein's brain for preservation, in hope that the neuroscience of the future would be able to discover what made Einstein so intelligent.
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2007, 01:30:30 pm »

Legacy

While travelling, Einstein had written daily to his wife Elsa and adopted stepdaughters, Margot and Ilse, and the letters were included in the papers bequeathed to The Hebrew University. Margot Einstein permitted the personal letters to be made available to the public, but requested that it not be done until twenty years after her death (she died in 1986). Barbara Wolff, of The Hebrew University's Albert Einstein Archives, told the BBC that there are about 3,500 pages of private correspondence written between 1912 and 1955 (BBC 2006).

The United States' National Academy of Sciences commissioned the Albert Einstein Memorial, a monumental bronze and marble sculpture by Robert Berks, dedicated in 1979 at its Washington, D.C. campus adjacent to the National Mall.

Einstein bequeathed the royalties from use of his image to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Roger Richman Agency licences the use of his name and associated imagery, as agent for the Hebrew University (Roger Richman Agency 2007).
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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2007, 01:31:59 pm »

Honors

In 1999, Albert Einstein was named "Person of the Century" by Time magazine (Golden 2000), the Gallup Poll recorded him as the fourth most admired person of the 20th century[62] and according to The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Einstein is "the greatest scientist of the twentieth century and one of the supreme intellects of all time" (Hart 1978).
A partial list of his memorials:
•   The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics named 2005 the "World Year of Physics" in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Annus Mirabilis Papers.
•   The Albert Einstein Memorial by Robert Berks
•   A unit used in photochemistry, the einstein
•   The chemical element 99, einsteinium
•   The asteroid 2001 Einstein
•   The Albert Einstein Award
•   The Albert Einstein Peace Prize
In 1990, his name was added to the Walhalla temple.
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« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2007, 01:34:41 pm »

Einstein in popular culture

In the period before World War II, Albert Einstein was so well known in America that he would be stopped on the street by people wanting him to explain "that theory". He finally figured out a way to handle the incessant inquiries. He told his inquirers "Pardon me, so sorry! Always I am mistaken for Professor Einstein."

Albert Einstein has been the subject of or inspiration for many novels, films, and plays, such as Yahoo Serious's intentionally inaccurate biography of Einstein as a Tasmanian in the film Young Einstein, Jean-Claude Carrier's 2005 French novel, Einstein S'il Vous Plait ("Please, Mr Einstein"), Nicolas Roeg's film Insignificance, Fred Schepisi's film I.Q. (where he was portrayed by Walter Matthau), Alan Lightman's collection of short stories Einstein's Dreams, and Steve Martin's comedic play Picasso at the Lapin Agile. He was the subject of Philip Glass's groundbreaking 1976 opera Einstein on the Beach and his humorous side is the subject of Ed Metzger's one-man play Albert Einstein: The Practical Bohemian. He was also portrayed in the Real Time Strategy game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, and was the focal point of certain missions.

Einstein is a favorite model for depictions of mad scientists and absent-minded professors; his expressive face and distinctive hairstyle have been widely copied and exaggerated. Time magazine's Frederic Golden wrote that Einstein was "a cartoonist's dream come true." (Golden 2000)

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