Albert Einstein and the old white boys’ club

Yesterday the Hebrew University in Jerusalem asked on the official Albert Einstein Facebook wall:

“Did you know? Einstein was the first Chairman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Academic Council and was on the University’s first Board of Governors. Support the University that Einstein loved on July 24th, on the 1st annual Global Giving Day. Every donation counts. Help fulfill Einstein’s legacy today”.

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And the university also asked the other day:

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How can students answer these questions if they haven’t learned about Einstein’s legacy and theories? Over the past decade, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has not offered any course on Albert Einstein’s legacy and theories (relativity, unified field theory, etc.).

I am an expert in Einstein studies; the Hebrew University in Jerusalem awarded me two extraordinary doctoral prizes (Bar Hillel and Edelstein) for my thesis on Albert Einstein. I could teach this topic but a decade ago the university abruptly closed my course and there were no other professors that offered the same course on Einstein’s legacy. That field was much a “unicorn”.

It was not until a decade after the university canceled my course that people realized that the program for the history and philosophy of science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem was actually dependent on Einstein’s legacy.

When history and philosophy both were living under the same roof, historians were mumbling their medieval and early history of science and philosophers were discussing quantum and statistical mechanics. I’ve told them many times that Einstein was the Hebrew University founder and therefore the university has to offer a course on Albert Einstein’s legacy, but people in the program for the history and philosophy of science wouldn’t listen. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink…

If we try to bring out the circumstances that were going on in the program for history and philosophy of science then when we look beneath the surface the program was dominated by the good ole boys club. The program was about to flourish but then came the 2018 closing or redefinition of the program (you can call it whatever you want) in terms of two or so courses in the department of philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; and the realization that more than a decade of great legacy is falling apart. And now, unfortunately, it’s a lame duck, almost a dead duck.

 

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Some of the topics discussed in my first book, Einstein’s Pathway to the Special Theory of Relativity

People ask questions about Einstein’s special theory of relativity: How did Einstein come up with the theory of special relativity? What did he invent? What is the theory of special relativity? How did Einstein discover special relativity? Was Einstein the first to arrive at special relativity? Was Einstein the first to invent E = mc2?

Did Poincaré publish special relativity before Einstein? Was Einstein’s special theory of relativity revolutionary for scientists of his day? How did the scientific community receive Einstein’s theory of special relativity when he published it? What were the initial reaction in the scientific community after Einstein had published his paper on special relativity?

In my book, Einstein’s Pathway to the Special Theory of Relativity, I try to answer these and many other questions.The topics discussed in my book are the following:

I start with Einstein’s childhood and school days.

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I then discuss Einstein’s student days at the Zurich Polytechnic. Einstein the rebellious cannot take authority, the patent office, Annus Mirabilis, University of Bern and University of Zurich, Minkowski’s space-time formalism of special relativity.

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Young Einstein, Aarau Class 1896

Additional topics treeated in my book are the following: Fizeau’s water tube experiment, Fresnel’s formula (Fresnel’s dragging coefficient), stellar aberration, and the Michelson and Michelson-Morley Experiments.

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Albert Einstein at the Patent office

Mileva Marić and Einstein

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Eduard Tete, Mileva Marić and Hans Albert

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Einstein’s road to the special theory of relativity: Einstein first believes in the ether, he imagines the chasing a light beam thought experiment and the magnet and conductor thought experiment. Did Einstein respond to the Michelson and Morley experiment? Emission theory, Fizeau’s water tube experiment and ether drift experiments and Einstein’s path to special relativity; “The Step”.

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Henri Poincaré’s possible influence on Einstein’s road to the special theory of relativity.

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Einstein’s methodology and creativity, special principle of relativity and principle of constancy of the velocity of light, no signal moves beyond the speed of light, rigid body and special relativity, the meaning of distant simultaneity, clock synchronization, Lorentz contraction, challenges to Einstein’s connection of synchronisation and Lorentz contraction, Lorentz transformation with no light postulate, superluminal velocities, Laue’s derivation of Fresnel’s formula, the clock paradox and twin paradox, light quanta, mass-energy equivalence, variation of mass with velocity, Kaufmann’s experiments, the principles of relativity as heuristic principles, and Miller ether drift experiments.

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The book also briefly discusses general relativity: Einstein’s 1920 “Geometry and Experience” talk (Einstein’s notion of practical geometry), equivalence principle, equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass, Galileo’s free fall, generalized principle of relativity, gravitational time dilation, the Zurich Notebook, theory of static gravitational fields, the metric tensor, the Einstein-Besso manuscript, Einstein-Grossmann Entwurf theory and Entwurf field equations, the hole argument, the inertio-gravitational field, Einstein’s general relativity: November 1915 field equations, general covariance and generally covariant field equations, the advance of Mercury’s perihelion, Schwarzschild’s solution and singularity, Mach’s principle, Einstein’s 1920 suggestion: Mach’s ether, Einstein’s static universe, the cosmological constant, de Sitter’s universe, and other topics in general relativity and cosmology which lead directly to my second book, General Relativity Conflict and Rivalries.

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My books

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