Anti-Semitism - · Hatred of, or prejudice against, the Jewish people.
Anti-Semitism was especially pervasive in Germany and Central Europe
in the early decades of the 20th century, and was acutely exacerbated
by the rise of National Socialism (Nazism) in Germany in the 1920s
Brownian motion - · The permanent erratic movement of particles suspended
in a liquid, first noticed by the English botanist Robert Brown
in 1828. Brownian motion was the subject of one of Einstein's three
great 1905 papers.
- · Early twentieth-century movement in art that involved
breaking the essence of the depicted object into geometrical planes, thereby
presenting multiple points of view simultaneously. The paintings
and Juan Gris initiated Cubism, but the movement
soon included sculpture as well, such as the works of Henri Matisse
and Naum Gabo.
Ether - · A universal medium that fills all space and behaves
like an elastic solid through which light waves can travel. The
concept of ether was proposed in the nineteenth century in an effort
to link mechanics and electrodynamics, because light can only be understood
as a mechanical wave if it has a physical medium through which
Federal Swiss Polytechnic - · A highly respected technical institution where Einstein participated
in a teaching course between 1896 and 1900. Einstein finally received
his doctoral degree from the University of Zurich in 1906.
Relativity - · Einstein's 1915 theory that the laws of physics are
the same for observers in any general state of motion, whether
they are at rest, moving with a constant speed, or accelerating
in a non-inertial fashion. Contrasted with special relativity,
general relativity is a broader concept that encompasses accelerating
frames as well and, as a result of the equivalence of inertial and
gravitational mass, provides a new theory of gravitation.
Logical Positivism - · A philosophical approach to science based on the notion
that the only statements we can know to be true are those that
can be verified by direct, positive experimental evidence. The
logical positivists also emphasized the role of symbolic logic
in the formulation of scientific theories.
Mechanical Worldview - · The Newtonian view of the universe that dominated physics until
the twentieth century, according to which all natural phenomena
arise from the interactions among moving matter. This matter obeys Newton's three
laws of motion, involving action and reaction, force
and acceleration, and inertia.
Objectivism - · A twentieth-century form of poetry characterized by
innovative experiments with verse, structure, and meter in an attempt
to incorporate into poetry the ideas that Einstein brought to physics.
Early objectivist poets include Archibald MacLeish, William Carlos
Williams, and Leon Zukofsky.
Olympia Academy - · A group founded by Einstein and his friends in the
early 1900s that held regular meetings in Bern to discuss their
Quantum Theory - · The theory in physics that energy is comprised of discrete, individual
particles called quanta. Quantum theory was the subject of one
of Einstein's three great 1905 papers.
Relativity - · Einstein's theory that the laws of physics are the
same in all inertial (non- accelerating) frames of reference, such
that it is impossible for an observer to tell whether or not he
or she is at motion or at rest relative to any sort of absolute
space. Special relativity was the subject of one of Einstein's
three great 1905 papers. (For more information on the science
behind this concept, see the Physics SparkNote on Special
Vienna Circle - · A group of scientists and philosophers that arose in
Vienna in 1922 around the physicist Moritz Schlick to discuss their
goal of a unified science achieved through logical analysis.
Wave-Particle Duality - · The theory that light behaves sometimes as if it is
a wave and sometimes as if it is comprised of discrete particles,
depending on the experimental situation.
Zionism - · A late nineteenth- and twentieth-century international movement
for the establishment of a Jewish national state in Palestine.
Einstein was exposed to Zionism when he moved to Berlin in 1911,
which was the Zionist headquarters. For Einstein, Zionism served
as an alternative to Prussian militarism and as an important means
of preserving the Jewish values of social justice and intellectual