Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 - April 18, 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula "E = MC2." He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.
Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led him to develop his special theory of relativity during his time at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern (1902–1909), Switzerland. However, he realized that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and he published a paper on general relativity in 1916 with his theory of gravitation. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, he applied the general theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe.
Except for one year in Prague, Einstein lived in Switzerland between 1895 and 1914, during which time he renounced his German citizenship in 1896, then received his academic diploma from the Swiss federal polytechnic school (later the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, ETH) in Zürich in 1900. After being stateless for more than five years, he acquired Swiss citizenship in 1901, which he kept for the rest of his life. In 1905, he was awarded a PhD by the University of Zurich. The same year, he published four groundbreaking papers during his renowned annus mirabilis (miracle year) which brought him to the notice of the academic world at the age of 26. Einstein taught theoretical physics at Zurich between 1912 and 1914 before he left for Berlin, where he was elected to the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
In 1933, while Einstein was visiting the United States, Adolf Hitler came to power. Because of his Jewish background, Einstein did not return to Germany. He settled in the United States and became an American citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of "extremely powerful bombs of a new type" and recommending that the US begin similar research. This eventually led to the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported the Allies, but he generally denounced the idea of using nuclear fission as a weapon. He signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto with British philosopher Bertrand Russell, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. He was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.
Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers and more than 150 non-scientific works. His intellectual achievements and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with "genius".
Albert Einstein in Worldwar
POD: May 30, 1942
|Appearance(s):||Upsetting the Balance|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Date of Death:||Unrevealed|
Albert Einstein, along with Leo Szilard, had petitioned President Franklin D. Roosevelt to authorize the Manhattan Project at the outset of World War II, and worked with the United States to develop atomic bombs. This work became even more urgent when the Race arrived in 1942, and demonstrated their own atomic weapons.
At one point, Einstein found himself in a large tobacco curing hut in Couch, Missouri with deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and escorted by General Dwight Eisenhower. They were there to confer with Dr. Robert Goddard and examine the components of a Race shuttlecraft. When they were leaving, they came face-to-face with the shuttle pilot Vesstil who Einstein found equally fascinating.
While Einstein's Theory of Relativity allowed the development of atomic bombs, the theory also seemed to prove that it was impossible to travel faster than light. This latter item was disproven in the 21st century, when the United States launched a successful flight of the FTL starship Commodore Perry.
Albert Einstein in The War That Came Early
|The War That Came Early |
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
Albert Einstein left Europe five years before the Second World War broke out. Sarah Goldman saw Einstein as an example of just how foolish the Nazi Party's anti-Jewish policy truly was: any brilliant ideas Einstein had would be shared with Germany's enemies, and not Germany proper.
In fact, Einstein and other scientists were able to convince the government of the United States to attempt to build a new type of bomb powerful enough to level a whole city. However, by 1942, the project, headquartered in Tennessee, had cost millions with nothing to show for it. Herb Druce convinced the government to shut the project down.
While the war in Europe did end in 1944 when the Nazis were overthrown by the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation, Einstein was still concerned that the more rational German government might see the potential in an atomic bomb and begin building one. He began investigating the identity of the person who'd killed the American project, and finally learned Herb Druce's name. He personally went to the home of Peggy Druce, Herb's ex-wife (as Einstein was unaware of their divorce), and expressed his concerns. Peggy gave Einstein Herb's new address.
Albert Einstein in Joe Steele
|Joe Steele |
Relevant POD: July, 1932
|Novel or Story?:||Both|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Date of Death:||1946|
|Cause of Death:||Execution by firing squad|
In 1938 or 1939, Albert Einstein (1879-1946) became aware of the Hahn-Meitner experiments in Germany, that might have laid the foundation for an atomic bomb. However, he kept that information to himself, even after the United States had entered into World War II in 1941, as President Joe Steele had already proven to be a tyrant since assuming office in 1933. Einstein saw that the bomb could benefit America's war effort, but did not trust Steele.
In early 1946, Steele was informed by Captain Hyman Rickover of the U.S. Navy about certain German programs involving the use of uranium as an explosive weapon. Steele summoned Einstein to the White House. When Steele asked about the German program, Einstein admitted that he'd learned of early experiments in 1938 or 1939. When Steele asked Einstein why he'd done nothing, Einstein calmly responded that he was afraid Steele would build the bomb and use it, resulting in the destruction of the world.
Steele proclaimed Einstein the "king of the wreckers", and ordered Einstein arrested. Once Einstein was gone, Steele asked Rickover if he could complete the project. Rickover promised to do his best. Steele also gave Rickover access to a number of people who'd already been placed in custody as wreckers. Steele cautioned that if any of these people did anymore wrecking, they would be eliminated. When Charlie Sullivan, a speechwriter for Steele, suggested Einstein would be too famous to execute, Steele retorted that the U.S. had taken Einstein in, and Einstein had betrayed the country. Steele promised that Einstein would get what he deserved. Einstein's death was discretely handled.
Einstein's actions and fate are the same in both the novel and the short story. In the short story, Einstein's actions serve as the justification for a purge called the "Professors' Plot", in which a number of Jewish scientists are arrested. This plot line is not carried over into the novel.
Albert Einstein in Southern Victory
|Southern Victory |
POD: September 10, 1862
|Appearance(s):||Drive to the East;|
In at the Death
|Type of Appearance:||Contemporary references|
Albert Einstein was a German physicist who abruptly disappeared in 1942. He was one of many leading physicists to do so from all across Germany and Austria-Hungary. United States officials correctly believed that they were working on a project to build what came to be called the "superbomb". The fruits of Einstein's labor were used against the Russian capital of Petrograd in 1944.
Before the CSA obtained their own superbomb, Jake Featherston, panicked that the USA would use one first on his country, told Lord Halifax that he wished someone had strangled Einstein when he was an infant.
- References to Historical Figures in Turtledove's Work for more minor references to Einstein in Turtledove's work.
- Tilting the Balance, pg. 502
- Upsetting the Balance, pg. 312, HC.
- In the Balance, pg. 94.
- Homeward Bound, pg. 489
- West and East, pg. 225
- Two Fronts, pgs. 273-275.
- Last Orders, pgs. 398-400.
- Joe Steele, pgs. 317-319, HC.
- Ibid., pgs. 319-320.
- Ibid., pg. 327.
- Drive to the East, pg. 116
- In at the Death, pg. 49.