NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 10 -- Albert Einstein, the most famous scientist in history, is underappreciated for his contributions to physics, according to Douglas Stone, an applied physic professor and director of the division of natural sciences at Yale University.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the publication of Einstein's 1905 paper on the particle properties of light, Stone will deliver "Genius and Genius2: Planck, Einstein and the Birth of Quantum Theory," a Yale Engineering Dean's Distinguished Lecture, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. in Davies Auditorium, at 15 Prospect St., New Haven.
According to a statement from Yale, in 1900 the German physicist Max Planck proposed that the energy of mechanical systems was not continuous but was quantized to indivisible units of magnitude determined by the constant of nature, h, which now bears his name. Planck was forced to this radical hypothesis in order to explain the nature of thermal radiation, a central problem in the physics of the time.
"The revolutionary and fundamental nature of Planck's quantum hypothesis was unappreciated at the time, until a young patent clerk, Albert Einstein, began to unlock its meaning with his famous 1905 paper on the particle properties of light," Stone said. "That paper boldly claimed that in its interaction with matter, light behaved as a particle (what we now refer to as a photon). The idea was revolutionary and the photon concept was not fully accepted in physics for the next 18 years."
Stone will compare the genius of Planck, "the reluctant revolutionary," and the genius of the young Einstein, "the fearless generalizer."
Stone's own research is an outgrowth of Einstein’s work, focusing on theoretical condensed matter and optical physics, quantum transport phenomena in disordered media, mesoscopic electron physics, quantum and wave chaos, quantum measurement and quantum computing. He was one of the first theorists to emphasize the novel properties of mesoscopic systems that differentiate them from macro and micro systems.
The public is invited to attend the free lecture. For more information, visit: www.yale.edu