Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Photo courtesy of AIP Niels Bohr Library
Who says physicists never get respect? Time magazine recently named theoretical physicist Albert Einstein its "person of the century" in its year-end issue (December 27, 1999), citing not only his intellectual brilliance but his humanitarian concerns, and describing him as a "paramount icon of our age."

Born in Germany in 1879, Einstein is notorious for having been expelled by a headmaster as a young school boy. He went on to win the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics for uncovering the theory of the photo-electric effect. His early work on the fundamentals of quantum theory and, of course, relativity, laid the groundwork for much of modern physics. This in turn paved the way for an unprecedented degree of technological development, including nuclear fission and fusion - the basis for the atomic bomb, nuclear power, and solar energy. Einstein emigrated to the US in 1933 to take a post at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, narrowly escaping persecution by the Nazi government because of his Jewish heritage. He has since become one of the most recognizable faces in American physics, and has even been immortalized on the Silver Screen by actor Walter Matthau in the popular romantic comedy, I.Q

In announcing their selection, the magazine editors wrote, "In a century that will be remembered foremost for its science and technology - in particular for our ability to understand and then harness the forces of the atom and the universe - one person clearly stands out as both the greatest mind and paramount icon of our age: The kindly, absent-minded professor whose wild halo of hair, piercing eyes, engaging humanity and extraordinary brilliance made his face a symbol and his name a synonym for genius."

More information about Einstein can be found at websites: www.aip.org/history and www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein<.


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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette

February 2000 (Volume 9, Number 2)

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Articles in this Issue
Chodos is New Associate Executive Officer
Man of the Century
APS Career Efforts Focus on Physics Departments
Mass Media Fellow Learns "Nuts and Bolts" of Journalism
Outreach and Community Service I
In the Journals
APS and BNL Host XXX e-Print Archive Mirror
In Brief
Poll Reveals All-Star Physicists
Cosmic CD Available at Last!
US R&D Spending Trends
Exploring "Who Did It?" with Forensic Science
Cornell "Nanoharp" Studies Vibrating Materials at High Frequencies
Viewpoint
Letters
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science
Inside the Beltway: A Washington Analysis
The Back Page