THE ANNUS MIRABILIS:
HOW EINSTEIN DISCOVERED
I have been extremely interested by the fact that you are planning to return to the Patent Office, in that cloister among the men where I hatched my best ideas and where we spent such pleasant days together.
—Letter of Albert Einstein to
Michele Besso, 12 December, 1919
At intervals of six to eight weeks starting on 17 March, 1905, Einstein sent off to the Annalen der Physik three papers that would appear in the journal's now famous Volume 17. Of these three masterpieces, the greatest is the special theory of relativity. This chapter explores how Einstein discovered it.
From 29 October, 1903, to 15 May, 1905, the Einsteins lived in the old city center of Bern. Their two-room flat at 49 Kramgasse was a second- floor walk-up accessible by a steep staircase.