Did Genius Einstein start the horrific atomic era?
by Tanvi Vohra, Wednesday, July 04, 2018
Albert Einstein, the most famous and influential name in the list of physicians of the 20th century is known to the World for winning Nobel Prize of Physics for his explanation of photoelectric effect in 1921. I doubt that there is anyone out there who is not aware of this German-born physicist.
Born: 14 March, 1879
Died: 18 April, 1955
Coming from a middle-class Jews family, Albert Einstein had the hardest years of his life in the 1930s. His son, Eduard was diagnosed with schizophrenia and then suffered a mental breakdown in the year 1930. Later, Einstein’s close friend and renowned physicist, Paul Ehrenfest committed suicide in 1933. He helped Einstein in the development of general relativity. The most heart-breaking for him was the death of his wife, Elsa in 1936.
Something more drastic happened during the late 1930s when the other physicists during that time started thinking of the possibility that the equation of Einstein, E = mc2 may make an atomic bomb creation possible. Although a decade before this Einstein had the thought of this possibility, but he later dismissed this thought. However, during this research he left an idea open: a method could be used in order to expand the power of a single atom. With this open thought in Einstein's discovery, Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, Otto Frisch and Fritz Strassmann in 1938-1939 proved how vast amount of energy can be produced by splitting up the uranium atom. This showcase of a new discovery electrified the entire physics community.
The same year in July, a renowned physicist, Leo Szilard was successful in convincing Einstein that he should write a letter to the U.S. President informing him about the discovery and pursuing him to develop an atomic bomb. A draft of the letter was written in August and later Einstein signed the final letter which was delivered to the President, Franklin D. Roosevelt on October 11, 1939. He received a reply soon on October 19 which informed him that Uranium Committee had been organized for the further study on this issue.
When Einstein was granted a permanent residency in U.S. in 1935, he refused it and decided to retain to his original Swiss citizenship. However, during the war, Einstein’s colleagues were asked to go to a desert town in order to develop the first atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project. Surprisingly, Einstein whose equation was the basis for all the findings was not even asked to participate. The real reason: it was believed that the U.S. government feared the involvement of Einstein as he was always associated with peace and with socialist organizations.
Albert Einstein was on a vacation when he received the news that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Japan. He immediately made attempts to bring the effects of the bomb under control. Later when questions were raised if this discovery could further lead to the creation of hydrogen bomb, Einstein opposed just developments and at the same time was also involved in activities for the rights of the African Americans.
So was the formation of atomic bomb, which holds the power to destroy mankind, was Albert Einstein's fault? Stay tuned for more What the Fact updates.