To say that I am in awe of Professor Einsteins’ intellect, would be an extreme understatement.
But it’s not just intellect that makes him my most admired person, and personal inspiration ; it’s confidence.
Einstein published his groundbreaking paper on special relativity in 1905 while working as a patent clerk and unable to secure a position as a physicist, and was met with deafening silence by the scientific community.
By 1908, already working on general relativity, he was beginning to be recognized as a legitimate physicist, if not somewhat of an enigma, but his ideas were still controversial to say the least.
Einstein completed general relativity between 1907 and 1915, but his ideas were radical, flew in the face of Sir Isaac Newton’s fundamental theories of gravity, and the scientific community was not ready to abandon 500 years of Newtonian-based ideas for Einstein, a relative new-comer to the establishment.
As a result, in order to gain acceptance of his ideas, Einstein proposed that his theories could be confirmed by photographing, then comparing star locations before and during a solar eclipse.
If correct, stars hidden by the suns’ corona, would appear to change location as their light is bent by the Suns’ gravity.
While awaiting the next observable solar eclipse in 1919, Einstein would wait patiently and stand his ground as critics ridiculed and attempted to discredit his theories.
In November of 1919, the results of the solar eclipse photographs would
appear in a British newspaper as follows:
“Revolution in Science – New Theory of the Universe – Newtonian Ideas Overthrown”
If there is a more stunning display of self-confidence, I have certainly not seen or heard about it.
Knowledge and talent without the confidence to advance them are more often than not insufficient to achieve success and innovation, and we should all be grateful that Professor Einstein had at least a little more than his share.
And while certainly no match for his intellect, as Professor Einsteins’ thought experiments and, “out-of-this-world” ideas elevate the abilities of mankind, so does his example of preparation and self-confidence elevate me.