Einstein’s Cosmos: How Albert Einstein’s Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space
and Time by Michio Kaku If you ask somebody to name a genius, the
first name that would come to many people’s mind is Albert Einstein. As well as being
one of the greatest scientists of all time, he is now probably the most recognisable,
but it is his contributions that he should be most remembered for. His profound theories
and predictions led him to be named Time magazine’s Person of the Century and many Nobel Prizes
are being won in the present day by scientists proving the existence of things predicted
by Einstein nearly 100 years ago. This book focuses on the pioneering work of
Einstein and describes the thinking process behind some of his greatest achievements.
A notable personality trait of Einstein that many people referred to was his humanity.
他有一个可爱的性格 无论你是谁 他说话的方式都一样 他对乞丐和皇室的态度相同
He was a lovable character who spoke in the same way to beggars as he did to royalty and
was as gracious to children as he was to adults. Albert Einstein was born on the 14th March
1879 in the city of Ulm in Germany, but was brought up in Munich along with his younger
sister. His mother was cultured and encouraged a young Albert to take up playing the violin,
他一辈子都享受弹小提琴 在他小时候 他就发现了磁性
something he enjoyed all his life. At a young age he discovered magnetism and
became fascinated by invisible forces making objects move. His father gave him a compass
when he was four or five years old and it left a lasting impression on him.
From the age of eleven he became staunchly religious practising the Jewish faith for
a short time but that soon changed when he realized that science and religion collided
with many miracles defying the laws of science. However, his brief liaison with religion led
him to appreciate the limitations of science and human understanding.
He soon developed a passion for Geometry, Mathematics and Philosophy, rarely playing
with friends his own age and but for the occasional distraction of music, always reading. The
philosopher Kant influenced him greatly, for example Einstein believed throughout his life
that world government was a way to end all wars.
As a teenager, Einstein went to school in Zurich, Switzerland. He enjoyed his time there
and would eventually become a Swiss citizen. Here he changed from being introverted and
withdrawn to mature and independent. In 1895 he wrote his first scientific paper. Einstein’s
thinking was often in terms of simple physical pictures rather than complex mathematics,
such as trains, clocks and rockets. He believed that aside from their mathematical expression,
“All physical theories… ought to lend themselves to so simple a description that
even a child could understand”. In 1900 Einstein graduated with a degree in
Physics and Mathematics. After struggling financially and only finding some temporary
low paid teaching jobs, Einstein eventually got a job as a civil servant, working as a
technical expert in the Bern Patent Office. In January 1903, Einstein married Mileva,
a Serbian woman who was in the same class as him when he was studying for his degree.
The following year they had a son called Hans. In his job Einstein could often finish his
work, which involved finding the principles underlying each invention, quickly. This left
him lots of time to daydream and think about physics in the quiet confines of his office.
He wrestled with the two great theories of physics at the time: Sir Isaac Newton’s
theory of forces where he thought space and time were absolute and James Clerk Maxwell’s
theory of fields and light where the speed of light was constant. Einstein thought they
were incompatible and contradicted each other. When he was travelling home one night, he
looked at the clock tower in Bern and imagined racing away in the car at the speed of light.
He realised that the clock in the tower would appear stopped as light cannot catch up to
the car but the clock in the car would tick normally. He then understood that time can
move at different rates throughout the universe, dependant on how quickly you’re moving.
He had arrived at his theory of relativity and thus proving Maxwell’s theory correct
and Newton’s flawed. He wrote a paper on the subject and those 31 handwritten pages
手写的这31页纸 改变了整个世界的历史之后在1905年 爱因斯坦又进了一步
changed the history of the world. Later in 1905, Einstein went one step further.
He stated that if clocks and rulers became distorted the faster you moved, then everything
measured with clocks and rulers must also change. This included energy and matter, which
例如 物体移动得越快 质量增加得越多
are interchangeable. For example, the faster an object moves, the more it’s mass increases.
By calculating how much energy was being converted into mass, you could show that E=mc2, the
most famous equation of all time. Further articles written that year by Einstein
on a quantum theory of light and proving the existence of atoms led to 1905 being dubbed
an “extraordinary year”. All four papers substantially contributed to the foundation
of modern physics and Einstein got his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich the following
year, making him Dr. Einstein. Future experiments provided evidence to confirm his ideas and
his recognition grew. He returned to the University of Zurich later as a professor. Einstein had
a second son but his work caused him to become estranged from his wife and children and she
left him while he was a director of the institute of physics at Berlin University, the finest
research centre in Germany which in turn was leading the world’s research in physics.
Einstein wanted to build on what he now called his special theory of relativity as it did
not take into account gravity or the acceleration of items. He published his general theory
of relativity in 1915 after years of exhaustive work. This coupled with the stresses of the
outbreak of the First World War (which he had strong objections to as a pacifist) led
1917年 战争击垮了他 他被诊断出胃溃疡
to him collapsing in 1917 and near a breakdown. He was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer and
advised to rest completely. He was nursed back to health by his cousin, Elsa whom he
married in 1919. Einstein’s latest work had moved him from
a prominent professor to a world figure, with his gravitational-related discoveries viewed
as the greatest since Newton’s. He was rightly viewed as a genius and nearly every newspaper
几乎世界上所有的报纸都想采访他然而 随着他的人气大涨 涌现了一大批人
in the world wanted to interview him. Unfortunately, as his popularity grew, so did the amount
of people trying to disprove his theory of relativity. He decided to use his new found
fame to promote his other causes too, specifically peace and Zionism. He went on a tour of America
to do just that. From there he travelled to England and paid his respects to Sir Isaac
Newton by laying a wreath on his grave in Westminster Abbey. From there he travelled
to Paris but with a growing rise in anti-Semitism on the continent, and after receiving multiple
在收发大量威胁的同时 他又踏上了另一段旅程这次他向东行走 去了日本和中国
death threats, went on another tour, this time heading East, to Japan and China.
It was while travelling to his latest tour that Einstein received word he’d won the
Nobel Prize in physics. He gave the prize money to his ex-wife as part of the divorce
settlement. Einstein had learnt his lesson not to neglect his wife and took his current
wife, Elsa, with him to meet famous people including celebrities and royalty. However,
despite now fully surrounded by the media circus, he never lost focus and continued
his work analysing the laws of the universe. He formulated his theory of gravity but then
moved onto an altogether more ambitious project: the unified field theory, which would unify
his theory of gravity with Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism.
1932年末 由于纳粹主义不断高涨 爱因斯坦离开德国 在他们上台的第二年
At the end of 1932, due to the rise of Nazism, Einstein left Germany. When they took power
early the following year, they confiscated his house and bank account, leaving Einstein
他的许多犹太同事逃走 由于没有房子 他前往英国的温斯顿·丘吉尔先生那里
penniless. Many of his Jewish colleagues also fled. Without a home, Einstein visited Sir
Winston Churchill in England. He received several job offers from leading universities
and decided to move to America, becoming a professor at Princeton University. While at
Princeton, Einstein investigated whether the creation of an atomic bomb was possible. He
concluded it was, but when the Manhattan Engineering Project was set up in 1941 and many of the
top scientists were contacted to work towards the creation of such a bomb, Einstein was
left out. Declassified war documents show that the FBI concluded that he could not be
trusted, due to his background and his relative short stay in America.
这段时间 爱因斯坦苍老得十分明显 他由于1936年妻子艾尔莎的死
During this time, Einstein began to age significantly; he was affected deeply by the death of his
wife Elsa in 1936 and continued to work on his unified field theory without ultimate
success. Even after his 70th birthday in 1949 he still lacked a guiding principle or physical
picture that would light the way to his theory and he struggled on the subject for over 30
years. In 1952 after the president of Israel had
爱因斯坦被提议为总统 但由于他的身体状况不断恶化 他拒绝了
died, Einstein was offered the presidency but declined. With his health deteriorating,
on the 18th April 1955, Albert Einstein passed away.
他留下来了丰富的遗产 是他的预言 例如他的黑洞论说
Einstein’s legacy is a prophetic one as many of his predictions such as the black
hole, have been proven to exist thanks to modern experimentation methods. In 2002 it
was shown that a black hole exists in our very own milky way galaxy. Even his work on
如今 重读他的统一场论 人们提出了超弦理论
the unified field theory is being revisited to this day thanks to the superstring theory.
Albert Einstein’s theories have revolutionised our understanding of the universe and his work has inspired many future generations of physicists, astronomers and philosophers.