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Albert Einstein

Pathfinders: (Pr x Media) = Funding2

Last month the world woke up to the strange headline that a) gravitational waves had almost certainly probably been detected and that therefore… b) wait for it… c) Einstein was a bit clever and… d) his theory of relativity was almost certainly probably right.

Of course the scientists were ecstatic. They had been trying to find these waves for years, and now that they had, they also potentially had a new way of looking at the universe. Maybe.

So, good job and pats on the back all round, but front-page splash material, really? It was like the Higgs all over again, with journalists and readers alike gamely talking it all up while trying not to look too baffled.

On the face of it, not much had really changed. Einstein's theory of relativity had already been corroborated as far back as 1919, and every scrap of observational data since had only served to confirm it, making it one of the most successful theories in the history of science.

Einstein Discusses Socialism

Professor Einstein has submitted to be interviewed by the "New Leader." In their usual extravagance of style, they speak of him as "the maker of an universe"; quoting Bernard Shaw they say “he is one of the eight greatest men in the world, the men who were makers of universes.” Is this the modern method of creating new gods? Are we to blame Einstein and the other seven for all the rottenness in the universe of to-day? After all language should express truth, and there is a wide difference between making a universe and explaining aspects of it.

Great Men and Greater Nonsense

By and large, socialists have little truck with what is sometimes called the "Great Man Theory of History", much preferring the Materialist Conception of History. Propounded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, this offers a much more satisfactory explanation of the forces that have shaped and changed human societies since the beginning of written history, which Marx pointed out was the history of private property society.

It still remains a fact that there are libraries of literature, and hosts of avid readers, concerned with the biographies of men and women whose lives have captured the public imagination for one reason or another, probably because most of us feel our own lives to be lacking in romance or significance and we like to escape from our own humdrum stories into the larger canvases of supposed "larger" lives.

Einstein and Common Sense

WATCH Out, all you believers in common sense. Albert Einstein was born on this day in 1879 and it is interesting to consider the effect of the scientific revolution caused by his theories on the "common sense" view of the world.

In 1905 (while working in a patent office), Einstein published his first paper on Special Relativity ("On the electrodynamics of moving bodies"—Annalen der Physik). From two beautifully simple axioms (the principle of relativity and the constancy of the velocity of light), Einstein was able to come up with some startling results. One of the best known is the prediction that moving clocks run slow. To quote his original example: "Thence we conclude that a balance clock at the equator must go more slowly by a very small amount than a precisely similar clock situated at one of the poles under otherwise identical conditions".

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