Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The next Einsteins?

This week I am on holidays (vacation) with my nieces in Portland, Oregon. Yesterday, we went to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). By chance, they had a special visiting exhibit, Einstein: the world through his eyes. It included the medal and certificates for his Nobel Prize (shown above with my nieces) and the original hand-written manuscript for his 1917 paper on general relativity.
One thing I always find interesting is how little play his 1905 paper on Brownian motion gets. I agree that for theoretical physics this paper was not as important as the special relativity paper and photoelectric papers of 1905. However, it can be argued that for science I actually think this was the most important paper of the 4 from 1905. After all, this led to Perrin's Brownian motion experiments in 1909 which finally convinced people that atoms really did exist (and recognised in the 1926 Nobel Prize in Physics). Furthermore, the Einstein relation between the diffusion constant and viscosity was the first example of a fluctuation-dissipation relation.

1 comment:

  1. I tend to agree. Fluctuation-Dissipation is ridiculously important, and as far as I can tell, all that special relativity does is make speeding tickets unavoidable...