Tuesday, January 25, 2005

World Year of Physics 2005

This is the world year of physics to celebrate the 100th anniversay of the Annus Mirabilis when Einstein published five papers that changed the world. The first paper that year was on the photoelectric effect in which he argues that light must be quantized. He won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for this work. The second paper is perhaps the least well known (although supposedly the most cited) and is his PhD dissertation on how to estimate the size of sugar molecules and Avogrado's number using the viscosity and diffusion of sugar in solution. The third was on the theory of Brownian motion based on the kinetic theory of heat. The fourth was the first paper on special relativity where he gives all the consequences of the relativity of inertial motion imposed by electrodynamics. The fifth is on the relationship between inertia and energy where he gives the famous equation although as m=E/c^2. The five papers were all published in German in the journal Annalen der Physik and have been newly translated into English. These discoveries formed the basis of 20th century physics. There will be festivities celebrating these achievements and physics in general all over the world. Find out what's happening in your neck of the woods at the official World Year of Physics 2005 website.

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