Remembering Einstein's groundbreaking contributions on his anniversary

By Dhananjay Khadilkar - RFI

March 14 was not just about celebrating the mathematical constant pi (3.14.). It was also the birth anniversary of Albert Einstein - an occasion to remember and celebrate his groundbreaking contributions to physics.

According to Thibault Damour, who is a professor emeritus at theInstitut des Hautes Etudes Scientifique (IHES) and an expert in the theories of relativity, Einstein was the greatest   physicist of the 20th century.

Speaking about the enormous impact of the two theories of relativity which Einstein discovered in the early 20th century, Damour said the theory of special relativity was the basis of all the developments in particle physics.

Speaking about the theory of general relativity, Damour said that at the beginning it was considered by many people like a beautiful object of art, but not something useful.

"It has turned out to be an extremely important element of our description of the Universe because the Big Bang, gravitational waves, black holes and many discoveries in astrophysics are based on Einstein's theory of general relativity."

Besides the two theories of relativity, Einstein made other significant contributions to physics.

"Einstein was the one to introduce the quantisation of many aspects of matter, of oscillators and the quantisation of light. He outlined the concept of quantum light.

For 20 years, most people did not believe in what he was saying that light was made of quanta. But, he was right."

Einstein's life
Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who is widely held to be one of the greatest and most influential scientists of all time.

 Best known for developing the theory of relativity, , he  also made important contributions to quantum mechanics, and was thus a central figure in the revolutionary reshaping of the scientific understanding of nature that modern physics accomplished in the first decades of the twentieth century

His mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2, which arises from relativity theory, has been called "the world's most famous equation"

He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect" a major step in the development of quantum theory.

 His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science.

] In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World, Einstein was ranked the greatest physicist of all time.