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MY HOMAGE TO ALBERT EINSTEIN WHO REVOLUTIONIZED MODERN
SCIENCE
Fernando Alcoforado*
This article aims to pay homage to Albert Einstein who revolutionized modern science.
We celebrate International Mathematics Day on March 14th, but coincidentally it was
also the day on which one of humanity's greatest geniuses, Albert Einstein, who was born
in Ulm in 1879, in the Kingdom of Würtenberg, German Empire (currently Baden-
Würtenberg). Albert Einstein was a German theoretical physicist who became famous for
developing the theory of general relativity, one of the pillars of modern physics alongside
quantum mechanics. Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his
contributions to theoretical physics and, especially, for his discovery of the law of the
photoelectric effect, which was fundamental in the birth of quantum mechanics. Born into
a family of German Jews, he moved to Switzerland at a young age and began his studies
at the Zurich Polytechnic School. He obtained a position at the Swiss patent office whilst
enrolling in the PhD course at the University of Zurich.
In 1905, Albert Einstein published five scientific articles that had a strong impact on the
world of Physics, breaking some paradigms established by Galileo Galilei and Isaac
Newton in the 17th century. The theories of Special Relativity, published in 1905, and
General Relativity, in 1915 , forever changed the way we understand the Universe. Space
and time are no longer independent and Einstein creates a new revolutionary concept in
Physics, that of relative space-time. Space, in which we measure distances, and time,
which we quantify with clocks, are neither absolute nor independent: they are united and
form a four-dimensional universe. It is this new space-time that has a unity. In the theory
of relativity, time can be affected by gravity and speed.
According to the Theory of Relativity, bodies that move at speeds close to that of light
(300,000 km/s) will present a shortening of their length in relation to an observer external
to them. The only dimensions of its size that undergo shortening are those that coincide
with the direction of its movement. In any directions perpendicular to this direction, the
dimensions of the bodies will not change. Consider that a person travels at a speed
equivalent to 80% of the speed of light in relation to a reference frame such as the Earth.
At the end of his trip, the person checks his watch and sees that he spent 5 hours to
complete it, while on Earth, a watch would have measured the time of this trip as being 8
hours 19 minutes (in approximate value). In other words, anybody that moves at speeds
close to that of light undergoes shortening (contraction in space) and in time (contraction
in time).
The idea that Physics must be the same for observers who move in relation to each other
in a uniform way, that is, with constant speed, was accepted and defended by Galileo
Galilei (1564-1642) and constitutes the essence of Galileo's Principle of Relativity. This
principle was also applied to the Mechanics of Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Until the end
of the 19th century, Newtonian mechanics was considered the paradigm theory in
Physics, and space and time were considered absolute and independent of each other. The
theory of Special Relativity, developed by Albert Einstein in 1905, forges with Quantum
Mechanics a new observer that moves significantly away from the privileged one of
Newton's mechanism, by losing its main characteristic: being able to observe the world
in an almost absolute way, as if was outside of it and was unable to disturb it during the
act of observing.
2
With the Theory of Relativity, space and time are therefore no longer independent and
Einstein creates a new revolutionary concept in Physics, that of relative space-time. Space
and time are neither absolute nor independent because they are united and form a four-
dimensional universe and it is this new space-time that has unity. Space and time
measurements essentially depend on the movement conditions of the observers. Einstein
thus gave the principle of relativity a more universal scope, extending it to
electromagnetic phenomena and any movement. Einstein makes it clear that his Theory
of Relativity did not invalidate Newton's theory. He stated that, when the speeds involved
in a phenomenon are small compared to the speed of light, Newtonian mechanics could
be applied and there was, therefore, no need to use Einstein's Relativity for its correct
description. When approaching physical phenomena with speeds close to that of light,
Einstein's theory of general relativity must be used.
With the Theory of General Relativity, Einstein extends the principle of Special
Relativity, as the Theory of Relativity of 1905 became known, to accelerated movements,
resulting in a new theory of Gravitation and the theoretical basis of a Scientific
Cosmology. The contribution of Einstein's Theory of Relativity has been fundamental,
not only in understanding the secrets of the Universe, but also in the development, for
example, of electronics. Without the Theory of Relativity, the properties of
semiconductors, which are essential materials for the electronic components industry,
would not be understood. There would be no processors like today's, much less the
internet itself. It would, therefore, be a world without computers and without a significant
part of modern technological achievements, such as Artificial Intelligence. This practical
example alone gives a dimension of Einstein's legacy, not to mention the development of
nuclear energy. His conception that mass and energy, which are not independent
knowledge, is at the origin of the development of nuclear physics, with its negative and
positive consequences that everyone knows: the atomic bomb on the one hand, the
generation of energy and the preparation of radioisotopes of medical use of another.
Another legacy that Einstein intended to leave for humanity was that of a unified theory
of the forces of nature, that is, the unified field theory, in which he would seek to explain
and connect all physical phenomena into a single theoretical structure, bringing together
quantum mechanics and theory of general relativity in a single theoretical and
mathematical treatment. Until his death in 1955, Albert Einstein sought to develop a
geometric formulation that would not only explain electromagnetic phenomena, but also
unify them with gravitation, but was unable to do so. The idea of unification is
fundamental in physics. The power or effectiveness of a theory can be measured by the
number of diverse phenomena it can explain. Newton unified the physics of celestial
gravitational phenomena with that of terrestrial gravitational phenomena. In the 19th
century, Faraday, Maxwell and others showed that electrical and magnetic phenomena
can be jointly described by the electromagnetic field. In Physics, a unified field theory
would allow all fundamental forces to be described in terms of a single field. There is as
yet no accepted unified field theory, and this subject remains an open field for research.
Einstein was in the United States when Nazism came to power in Germany in 1933, and
did not return to his home country, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy
of Sciences. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1940. Einstein warned
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that Germany might be developing an atomic
weapon, recommending that the US government begin similar research, which led to what
would become the Manhattan Project. He supported the Allied forces in World War II,
however, denouncing the use of the atomic bomb as a weapon of war. He signed with
Bertrand Russell the Russell-Einstein Manifesto which highlighted the danger of nuclear
3
weapons. Albert Einstein left us with the image of an upright scientist, ethically involved
with the progress of the society in which he lived, capable of rebelling against Nazism
and any form of oppression. He was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study at
Princeton University, where he worked until his death in 1955 at age 76. His great
intellectual achievements and originality made the word "Einstein" synonymous with
genius. In 1999, he was voted by 100 renowned physicists as the most memorable
physicist of all time. In the same year, Time magazine, in a compilation of the most
important and influential people, classified him as the personality of the 20th century.
* Fernando Alcoforado, awarded the medal of Engineering Merit of the CONFEA / CREA System, member
of the Bahia Academy of Education, of the SBPC- Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science and of
IPB- Polytechnic Institute of Bahia, engineer from the UFBA Polytechnic School and doctor in Territorial
Planning and Regional Development from the University of Barcelona, college professor (Engineering,
Economy and Administration) and consultant in the areas of strategic planning, business planning, regional
planning, urban planning and energy systems, was Advisor to the Vice President of Engineering and
Technology at LIGHT S.A. Electric power distribution company from Rio de Janeiro, Strategic Planning
Coordinator of CEPED- Bahia Research and Development Center, Undersecretary of Energy of the State
of Bahia, Secretary of Planning of Salvador, is the author of the books Globalização (Editora Nobel, São
Paulo, 1997), De Collor a FHC- O Brasil e a Nova (Des)ordem Mundial (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1998),
Um Projeto para o Brasil (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2000), Os condicionantes do desenvolvimento do
Estado da Bahia (Tese de doutorado. Universidade de
Barcelona,http://www.tesisenred.net/handle/10803/1944, 2003), Globalização e Desenvolvimento (Editora
Nobel, São Paulo, 2006), Bahia- Desenvolvimento do Século XVI ao Século XX e Objetivos Estratégicos
na Era Contemporânea (EGBA, Salvador, 2008), The Necessary Conditions of the Economic and Social
Development- The Case of the State of Bahia (VDM Verlag Dr. Müller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG,
Saarbrücken, Germany, 2010), Aquecimento Global e Catástrofe Planetária (Viena- Editora e Gráfica,
Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2010), Amazônia Sustentável- Para o progresso do Brasil e combate
ao aquecimento global (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2011), Os Fatores
Condicionantes do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2012), Energia no
Mundo e no Brasil- Energia e Mudança Climática Catastrófica no Século XXI (Editora CRV, Curitiba,
2015), As Grandes Revoluções Científicas, Econômicas e Sociais que Mudaram o Mundo (Editora CRV,
Curitiba, 2016), A Invenção de um novo Brasil (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2017), Esquerda x Direita e a sua
convergência (Associação Baiana de Imprensa, Salvador, 2018), Como inventar o futuro para mudar o
mundo (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2019), A humanidade ameaçada e as estratégias para sua sobrevivência
(Editora Dialética, São Paulo, 2021), A escalada da ciência e da tecnologia e sua contribuição ao progresso
e à sobrevivência da humanidade (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2022), a chapter in the book Flood Handbook
(CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida United States, 2022), How to protect human beings from threats to their
existence and avoid the extinction of humanity (Generis Publishing, Europe, Republic of Moldova,
Chișinău, 2023) and A revolução da educação necessária ao Brasil na era contemporânea (Editora CRV,
Curitiba, 2023).

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  • 1. 1 MY HOMAGE TO ALBERT EINSTEIN WHO REVOLUTIONIZED MODERN SCIENCE Fernando Alcoforado* This article aims to pay homage to Albert Einstein who revolutionized modern science. We celebrate International Mathematics Day on March 14th, but coincidentally it was also the day on which one of humanity's greatest geniuses, Albert Einstein, who was born in Ulm in 1879, in the Kingdom of Würtenberg, German Empire (currently Baden- Würtenberg). Albert Einstein was a German theoretical physicist who became famous for developing the theory of general relativity, one of the pillars of modern physics alongside quantum mechanics. Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to theoretical physics and, especially, for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, which was fundamental in the birth of quantum mechanics. Born into a family of German Jews, he moved to Switzerland at a young age and began his studies at the Zurich Polytechnic School. He obtained a position at the Swiss patent office whilst enrolling in the PhD course at the University of Zurich. In 1905, Albert Einstein published five scientific articles that had a strong impact on the world of Physics, breaking some paradigms established by Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton in the 17th century. The theories of Special Relativity, published in 1905, and General Relativity, in 1915 , forever changed the way we understand the Universe. Space and time are no longer independent and Einstein creates a new revolutionary concept in Physics, that of relative space-time. Space, in which we measure distances, and time, which we quantify with clocks, are neither absolute nor independent: they are united and form a four-dimensional universe. It is this new space-time that has a unity. In the theory of relativity, time can be affected by gravity and speed. According to the Theory of Relativity, bodies that move at speeds close to that of light (300,000 km/s) will present a shortening of their length in relation to an observer external to them. The only dimensions of its size that undergo shortening are those that coincide with the direction of its movement. In any directions perpendicular to this direction, the dimensions of the bodies will not change. Consider that a person travels at a speed equivalent to 80% of the speed of light in relation to a reference frame such as the Earth. At the end of his trip, the person checks his watch and sees that he spent 5 hours to complete it, while on Earth, a watch would have measured the time of this trip as being 8 hours 19 minutes (in approximate value). In other words, anybody that moves at speeds close to that of light undergoes shortening (contraction in space) and in time (contraction in time). The idea that Physics must be the same for observers who move in relation to each other in a uniform way, that is, with constant speed, was accepted and defended by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and constitutes the essence of Galileo's Principle of Relativity. This principle was also applied to the Mechanics of Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Until the end of the 19th century, Newtonian mechanics was considered the paradigm theory in Physics, and space and time were considered absolute and independent of each other. The theory of Special Relativity, developed by Albert Einstein in 1905, forges with Quantum Mechanics a new observer that moves significantly away from the privileged one of Newton's mechanism, by losing its main characteristic: being able to observe the world in an almost absolute way, as if was outside of it and was unable to disturb it during the act of observing.
  • 2. 2 With the Theory of Relativity, space and time are therefore no longer independent and Einstein creates a new revolutionary concept in Physics, that of relative space-time. Space and time are neither absolute nor independent because they are united and form a four- dimensional universe and it is this new space-time that has unity. Space and time measurements essentially depend on the movement conditions of the observers. Einstein thus gave the principle of relativity a more universal scope, extending it to electromagnetic phenomena and any movement. Einstein makes it clear that his Theory of Relativity did not invalidate Newton's theory. He stated that, when the speeds involved in a phenomenon are small compared to the speed of light, Newtonian mechanics could be applied and there was, therefore, no need to use Einstein's Relativity for its correct description. When approaching physical phenomena with speeds close to that of light, Einstein's theory of general relativity must be used. With the Theory of General Relativity, Einstein extends the principle of Special Relativity, as the Theory of Relativity of 1905 became known, to accelerated movements, resulting in a new theory of Gravitation and the theoretical basis of a Scientific Cosmology. The contribution of Einstein's Theory of Relativity has been fundamental, not only in understanding the secrets of the Universe, but also in the development, for example, of electronics. Without the Theory of Relativity, the properties of semiconductors, which are essential materials for the electronic components industry, would not be understood. There would be no processors like today's, much less the internet itself. It would, therefore, be a world without computers and without a significant part of modern technological achievements, such as Artificial Intelligence. This practical example alone gives a dimension of Einstein's legacy, not to mention the development of nuclear energy. His conception that mass and energy, which are not independent knowledge, is at the origin of the development of nuclear physics, with its negative and positive consequences that everyone knows: the atomic bomb on the one hand, the generation of energy and the preparation of radioisotopes of medical use of another. Another legacy that Einstein intended to leave for humanity was that of a unified theory of the forces of nature, that is, the unified field theory, in which he would seek to explain and connect all physical phenomena into a single theoretical structure, bringing together quantum mechanics and theory of general relativity in a single theoretical and mathematical treatment. Until his death in 1955, Albert Einstein sought to develop a geometric formulation that would not only explain electromagnetic phenomena, but also unify them with gravitation, but was unable to do so. The idea of unification is fundamental in physics. The power or effectiveness of a theory can be measured by the number of diverse phenomena it can explain. Newton unified the physics of celestial gravitational phenomena with that of terrestrial gravitational phenomena. In the 19th century, Faraday, Maxwell and others showed that electrical and magnetic phenomena can be jointly described by the electromagnetic field. In Physics, a unified field theory would allow all fundamental forces to be described in terms of a single field. There is as yet no accepted unified field theory, and this subject remains an open field for research. Einstein was in the United States when Nazism came to power in Germany in 1933, and did not return to his home country, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1940. Einstein warned President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that Germany might be developing an atomic weapon, recommending that the US government begin similar research, which led to what would become the Manhattan Project. He supported the Allied forces in World War II, however, denouncing the use of the atomic bomb as a weapon of war. He signed with Bertrand Russell the Russell-Einstein Manifesto which highlighted the danger of nuclear
  • 3. 3 weapons. Albert Einstein left us with the image of an upright scientist, ethically involved with the progress of the society in which he lived, capable of rebelling against Nazism and any form of oppression. He was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, where he worked until his death in 1955 at age 76. His great intellectual achievements and originality made the word "Einstein" synonymous with genius. In 1999, he was voted by 100 renowned physicists as the most memorable physicist of all time. In the same year, Time magazine, in a compilation of the most important and influential people, classified him as the personality of the 20th century. * Fernando Alcoforado, awarded the medal of Engineering Merit of the CONFEA / CREA System, member of the Bahia Academy of Education, of the SBPC- Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science and of IPB- Polytechnic Institute of Bahia, engineer from the UFBA Polytechnic School and doctor in Territorial Planning and Regional Development from the University of Barcelona, college professor (Engineering, Economy and Administration) and consultant in the areas of strategic planning, business planning, regional planning, urban planning and energy systems, was Advisor to the Vice President of Engineering and Technology at LIGHT S.A. Electric power distribution company from Rio de Janeiro, Strategic Planning Coordinator of CEPED- Bahia Research and Development Center, Undersecretary of Energy of the State of Bahia, Secretary of Planning of Salvador, is the author of the books Globalização (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1997), De Collor a FHC- O Brasil e a Nova (Des)ordem Mundial (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1998), Um Projeto para o Brasil (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2000), Os condicionantes do desenvolvimento do Estado da Bahia (Tese de doutorado. Universidade de Barcelona,http://www.tesisenred.net/handle/10803/1944, 2003), Globalização e Desenvolvimento (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2006), Bahia- Desenvolvimento do Século XVI ao Século XX e Objetivos Estratégicos na Era Contemporânea (EGBA, Salvador, 2008), The Necessary Conditions of the Economic and Social Development- The Case of the State of Bahia (VDM Verlag Dr. Müller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2010), Aquecimento Global e Catástrofe Planetária (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2010), Amazônia Sustentável- Para o progresso do Brasil e combate ao aquecimento global (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2011), Os Fatores Condicionantes do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2012), Energia no Mundo e no Brasil- Energia e Mudança Climática Catastrófica no Século XXI (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2015), As Grandes Revoluções Científicas, Econômicas e Sociais que Mudaram o Mundo (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2016), A Invenção de um novo Brasil (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2017), Esquerda x Direita e a sua convergência (Associação Baiana de Imprensa, Salvador, 2018), Como inventar o futuro para mudar o mundo (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2019), A humanidade ameaçada e as estratégias para sua sobrevivência (Editora Dialética, São Paulo, 2021), A escalada da ciência e da tecnologia e sua contribuição ao progresso e à sobrevivência da humanidade (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2022), a chapter in the book Flood Handbook (CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida United States, 2022), How to protect human beings from threats to their existence and avoid the extinction of humanity (Generis Publishing, Europe, Republic of Moldova, Chișinău, 2023) and A revolução da educação necessária ao Brasil na era contemporânea (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2023).