Ray the Geek's Blog

Tag: Day

Albert Einstein’s 132nd Birthday, Happy Birthday Albert!

by on Mar.14, 2011, under Uncategorized

One of my biggest idols of my life has been Albert Einstein. Not only was Albert the father of modern physics, devout pacifist, great humanitarian he also wrote some of my favorite quotes. I think the quote I treasure the most and I have made my personal signature is “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, Imagination encircles the world.” In my life I have known very knowledgeable people who had no imagination and to me that is a waste. In my mind, knowledge without imagination is like owning a nice sports car, but not being able to drive. Another one of my favorite Albert quotes is “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” To me, I have always strived for making things simple. Not because I am lazy, but it helps others to easily understand and reproduce my ideas or designs. There is no greater beauty in this universe than a simple and functional design or formula. How much simpler can you get than E=MC²!
As most of us know, if it were not for Albert’s work on the Theory of Relativity, much of what we know about physics today would have taken perhaps decades longer to achieve. Ask any physicist, what the world of physics would be without Albert’s work and imagination and they would most likely say that physics would be very boring. Albert’s methods of bringing things to their simplest terms made him so well respected within the physics community. Although Albert never had the aid of modern computers or even a calculator to do most of his work, the final product of his labor is still the de facto standard for physics for over 100 years.

As for Albert’s devout pacifism, he did write “I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.” Of course one thing Albert never really forgave himself for was telling President Roosevelt in 1939 that theoretically, using uranium to create a thermonuclear bomb could be possible, and that the USA should form a committee to investigate the theory, this suggestion was taken and would of course later become the Manhattan Project. Albert once wrote that it was his “single greatest mistake.” of his life was writing the first letter to Roosevelt. Albert later wrote “Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb, I would not have lifted a finger.” Albert also wrote later “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!”

Few may know of Albert’s humanitarian efforts, but being a pacifist, in my mind, is as close to being a humanitarian as being a vegetarian is to being an animal lover. They kind of go hand in hand. Albert always spoke highly of Mahatma Gandhi and his ideas of peaceful protests. In the early 1930s Einstein recognized the threat that Hitler posed to Jews living in Germany and to himself in particular as a world-famous Jew. In 1932 Einstein left his country of birth never to return. Throughout the thirties Einstein was deluged with pleas for help from relatives and strangers desperate to flee fascism in Europe. Working against harsh immigration quotas imposed against Jews, Einstein wrote affidavits and enlisted the help of friends in assisting as many refugees as possible. By the end of the 1930s, Einstein had written so many affidavits that his signature on a document no longer carried any weight.

At the same time, Einstein was busy raising funds for organizations such as the United Jewish Appeal, and working toward securing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, which was realized in 1948 by the creation of the State of Israel. “. . . my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became fully aware of our precarious situation among the nations of the world.” -Einstein in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, November 18, 1952. When Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel and an old friend of Einstein’s, died in 1952 Einstein was offered the Presidency. He regretfully declined, writing: “I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it.” (Source Historical Society of Princeton)

For these and many other reasons, Albert has been recognized as one of the greatest individuals of 20th century. This is why from this day on; I intend to call March 14, “Albert Einstein Day”! Although I doubt it will ever become a true holiday, I have bought the domains www.alberteinsteinday.com and www.alberteinsteinday.net to begin a grass roots effort to make it one! Maybe someday my hope for an official Albert Einstein Day will come true. If not perhaps I can raise awareness into how truly great a man Albert Einstein was.

Ray

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