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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Happy Birthday Special Relativity

One hundred years ago today, June 30th, 1905, Albert Einstein's Special Relativity paper, Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper (On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies) was received for publication by Annalen der Physik, and hence this is the date it bore when published on September 26th, 1905. His paper on photoelectricity, Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristishen Gesichtspunktfor, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1921 "for his services to theoretical physics and in particular for his discovery of the law of the photo-electric effect", had been published in the June 9th issue of the same journal. These papers, along with his explanation of Brownian motion (published July 18th), his doctoral dissertation on the size of molecules and determination of Avogadro's number (received August 19th, 1905, published February 8th, 1906), and his paper on the equivalence of mass and energy (published November 21st, 1905), Ist die Trägheit eines Körpers von seinem Energieeinhalt abhängig? (Does the Inertia of a Body Depend upon its Energy-Content?) which contains the concept, but not the actual equation "E=mc²", were the highlights of Einstein's miraculous year of 1905. All of these papers are collected in new English translations in the eponymous book, which is now available in paperback.

A detailed chronology of events in Einstein's life in 1905 has been published as part of the Einstein exhibit by the American Institute of Physics, along with a chronology of his entire life.

Posted at June 30, 2005 14:30