Albert Einstein: A biographical portrait by Anton Reiser, Rudolf Kayser, Albert Einstein

By Anton Reiser, Rudolf Kayser, Albert Einstein

Publication by way of Reiser, Anton, Kayser, Rudolf

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Our entire system of physical knowledge has thus been placed on a firmer basis. Laws of farreaching significance, equal to those sf Coper- nicus, Galileo and Newton, have been discovered. It is not our task to explain in detail the mathematical-physical derivation of the special theory of relativity. We are dealing with biographical facts, with the emergence of these definite problems in the life of the youthful Einstein, and with the far-reaching consequences of his work. In contrast to all previous investigators, who had dealt with the fundamental problems of time and space, Einstein contributed a new conception which was of great philosophical significance.

He not only achieved a cure of the patient and a solution of the problem, but a revolutionary reorganization of our fundametal principles of physics. I t was clear to Einstein that the theory of Lorentz and the principle of relativity were necessarily compatible. Since it was impossible to doubt the truth of both principles, the apparent incompatibility, as indicated by the negative result of Michelson’s experiment, must be due to the traditional conception of time and space. At first, Einstein thought it possible to eliminate completely the hypothetical lightether, which was the real disturbing element.

Albert was examined for two full hours. The Director placed before him literature on new patents about which he was required to form an immediate opinion. The examination unfortunately disclosed his obvious lack of technical training. Nevertheless, the Director decided to employ the young stranger as soon as a vacancy should occur. In the fall of 1902 Albert began his duties at Bern. He had, at Zurich, previously obtained his Swiss citizenship papers. The process had not been simple. The Zurich city fathers definitely mistrusted the unworldly, dreamy young scholar of German descent who was so bound to become a citizen of Switzerland.

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