Albert Einstein and the Frontiers of Physics

By Jeremy Bernstein | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
The Miracle Year

The first annus mirabilis, or miracle year, in physics was 1665. That was the year in which Isaac Newton retreated from Cambridge University to his mother's house in Lincolnshire, England, to avoid the Great Plague that was ravishing population centers such as London and Cambridge. He was 24 years old, and as he later reminisced, [in those days [I was]…in the prime of my age for invention and minded [thought about] mathematicks and philosophy [natural science] more than at any time since.] During the succeeding 18 months Newton created the physics, and the mathematics for it, that dominated the subject for the next 250 years. Many of the things Newton discovered during that time were not revealed for many years thereafter. He was a very secretive man who greatly feared that his work would be stolen and credit given to others. Finally, in 1686, his masterpiece—the Principia—was published. It was a very difficult book, written in Latin and making use of very complicated geometrical arguments. Nonetheless, enough people understood enough of the Principia to make it clear to the less knowledgeable that Newton had created an entire world system. It appeared as if Newton's laws, which

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Albert Einstein and the Frontiers of Physics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface - How I Did Not Get to Meet Albert Einstein 8
  • Chapter 1 - Einstein When Young 17
  • Chapter 2 - The Miracle Year 38
  • Chapter 3 - The Strange Story of the Quantum 67
  • Chapter 4 - Professor Einstein's Happiest Thought 88
  • Chapter 5 - Einstein's Cosmology 117
  • Chapter 6 - The Stranger Story of the Quantum 126
  • Chapter 7 - 112 Mercer Street 145
  • Chapter 8 - Einstein's Legacy 168
  • Coda - How I Did Get to See Einstein 173
  • Appendix - The Michelson-Morley Experiment 174
  • Chronology 183
  • Further Reading 185
  • Index 187
  • Picture Credits 191
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