Xavier Del Cerro
Honors English 9 Period 4
December 8 2014
The Brain Behind the 20th Century
To be influential is “To have the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.” Albert Einstein ought to be included in the Time’s 100 Most Influential People because of the outstanding formulas of space that he articulated, the inspiration that he produced when he overcame a problematic childhood, and the revolutionizing mathematical theories of relativity that he created during his lifetime. His scientific innovations like the atomic bomb, and the formula E = mc2, revolutionized war and physics and made him one of the most influential people of his time. The theories of relativity opened many doors in the fields of physics, and his scientific discoveries set the foundation for innovative advancements throughout the 20th century. On top of his magnificent endeavors, he managed to cope many difficulties in his childhood, such as: bad grades, difficulty learning to talk and social conflicts with those around him. His success in overcoming his misfortunate conditions sets an inspirational example on how to overcome obstacles. Thus, Albert Einstein is a stellar model of what it means to be influential and deserves the title of one of the Time’s 100 most influential people. Life was not easy for Einstein in Germany, in the years that he lived there he faced several academic and social obstacles. In his childhood, Einstein’s parents “worried about him when he was slow learning to talk, failed to play with other boys and did poorly in school.” (Bolton 176). Einstein’s religion was also a problem, “Since Einstein was Jewish, his situation in Germany became precarious when Hitler rose to power. In 1933, he moved to Princeton, New Jersey, to work at the Institute for Advanced Study.” (Hart 88). Einstein’s religion was a big reason for his move to America, but religion overall branded Einstein as controversial scientist; “no modern scientists except Darwin has ever engendered as much controversy as Einstein. When he left Germany, it is said that the Nazi party burned copies of his books in public areas.” (Hart 88). In the end, it seems as if Albert Einstein never let the hardships he faced as a child get in the way of his success, because as Einstein grew older, it became more and more clear that he could always surpass his most previous achievement. He established him-self as a scientist at a very young age, “As boy, he continued to read books about mathematics and taught himself differential and integral calculus. He also read, ‘With Breathless Attention,’ a six-volume work that summarized scientific discoveries up to that time. He was sure by the time he was fifteen that he wanted to specialize in mathematics and physics.” (Bolton 177). He showed sparks of genius throughout his childhood, and “by the age of sixteen he had already mastered calculus.” (Byers 228). It wasn’t until his adulthood when Einstein became a known scientist, “he received his Ph.D. in 1905 from the University of Zurich, that same year he published his papers on special relativity, on the photoelectric effect, and on the theory of Brownian motion.” (Hart 88). These papers established his status as a scientist. “The theory of relativity is characterized by its influence not merely on separate cultural fields - economics, education, literature, art, etc. - but also on the common transformation of all these fields.” (Boris Kuznetsov 167). “The theory of relativity has led to the very energetic emergence of physical constants and concepts in mechanics. Later, with relativistic cosmology, physics went into astronomy and in the framework of the quantum theory of the atom, into chemistry and biology. Physics has even entered into Mathematics.” (Boris Kuznetsov 181-182). The theories of relativity changed the perspective that scientists had on the universe...
Cited: “Albert Einstein.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Ed. Paula K. Byers. 2nd Ed.
Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale, 1998. 228-231. Print.
Bolton, Sarah K. “Famous Men of Science.” New York: Thomas Y. Crowell,
“Einstein, science and culture.” Einstein: A Centenary Volume. Ed. A.P. French.
Massachusetts: Harvard, 1979. 167-184. Print.
Fever, Lewis S. “Einstein and the Generations of Science.” New York: Basic Books,
Hart, Michael H. “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History.”
New York City: Hart, 1978. Print.
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