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When Albert became Einstein

1895-1901

by Christian Bracco (author)
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This book proposes an in-depth investigation carried out in Italy in young Albert Einstein's footsteps, since his attempt to enter the ETH Zurich in 1895 until his first doctoral work in 1901. We follow his family, who transferred his electrical engineering company from Munich to Milan, in the rich social, economic, political and industrial context of post-unified Italy; a milieu also familiar to Michele Besso, Albert's closest friend and collaborator, whom he met again daily in Milan on semester-breaks, after their first meeting in 1895. In Pavia, the parish register will lead us to Carlo Marangoni, the uncle of Ernestina (Albert's friend) and a specialist in capillarity phenomena. In Milan, we will discover the library of the Lombardo Institute, Academy of sciences and letters, where Albert worked for his bibliography.Old registers at the university and at the Polytechnic will draw our attention to his connection with Giuseppe Jung, one of Michele's uncles, an academician.
This young Albert environment sheds a new light on his scientific remarks to his fiancée Mileva Marié: his first article on capillarity and molecular forces; his interest in wireless telegraphy; his search to evidence the motion of the Earth through the ether; his thesis extended to weakly compressed gases and even his early questionings on the nature of light. All of this we will discover in a trip round Lombardy in the beginning of the 19th century.

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Table of ContentsIntroduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11905, a “miraculous” year for Albert Einstein? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Two important witnesses: Mileva Marić and Michele Besso . . . . . . . . . . 3Letters to Mileva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Correspondence with Michele Besso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Michele’s unsuccessful plea for a history of the genesis of Albert’s ideas . 7Editorial plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101. The Italian political and industrial context of the 19th Century 15The Einsteins in Milan and Pavia: settlements and relationships . . . . . . 16The short adventure of Einstein, Garrone & Cie (1894-1896) . . . . 16Famous homes and political connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17Historical context: Napoleonic and Risorgimento influences . . . . . . . . . . 19The Cisalpine Republic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19The insurrection of 1848 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21The Risorgimento and the birth of a modern state . . . . . . . . . . . . 22The creation and role of the Lombard Institute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23The new industrial and economic framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25Unification and railways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25The electrical industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Insurance and the fate of workers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27The academic world and its links to the industrial sector . . . . . . . . . . . 28Some examples of the creation of polytechnics (Turin, Milan,Rome) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29The Italian Electrotechnical Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31Hoepli and the development of Italy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322. The company of Jakob and Hermann Einsteinin the international electrotechnical context – exhibitionsand reviews. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35Paris 1881, the first International Electricity Exhibition . . . . . . . . . . . . 37The birth of a major exhibition devoted to electricityand its applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37Electric lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39Electric dynamos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Rail transport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42Medical and educational applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43The first international congress of electricians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43VI When Albert became EinsteinMunich 1882 and the Einsteins’ involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44Vienna 1883 and electric meters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46Turin 1884 and the development of alternating current . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47Frankfurt 1891, three-phase current and the Einsteins’ participation . . . 50Electrotechnical magazines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 523. Michele Besso and his family’s role in Italian industrialisation . 55Michele Besso (1873-1955), Albert’s long-standing friend . . . . . . . . . . . 56A brilliant young man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56Constant links with Albert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57An endearing personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58Albert and Michele meet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60The paternal branch of the Besso family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63Giuseppe Besso (1839-1901), Michele’s father, humanist . . . . . . . . 63Beniamino Besso (1840-1907), railway engineer and scientificauthor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64Marco Besso (1843-1920), the influential Chairman of GeneralInsurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66Davide Besso (1845-1906), mathematician and teacher . . . . . . . . . 68The maternal branch of the Cantoni family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70Vittorio Cantoni (1857-1930), civil Polytechnic engineer . . . . . . . 71Giuseppe Jung (1845-1926), professor of graphic staticsat the Milan Polytechnic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 734. Albert’s environment in Pavia and preparations for ETH . . . . 75Albert’s attempt to be admitted to ETH in October 1895, at the ageof sixteen without a school-leaving certificate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76The plan to be admitted to ETH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76The letter to Galileo Ferraris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77Intervention with Herzog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78The scientific memoir of 1895 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79The circumstances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79The subject: the state of the ether in a magnetic field . . . . . . . . . . 80What are the sources for the dissertation? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81The Einsteins’ links with the University of Pavia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83Their partner Lorenzo Garrone and the mathematicianGiulio Vivanti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83Their partner Angelo Cerri, theoretical geodesy assistant . . . . . . . 84Jakob Einstein, Otto Neustätter and the medical academicsin Munich and Pavia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86Links with physicists at the University? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87Social relations in Pavia: Ernestina Marangoni and her uncle Carlo,a physicist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89Ernestina Marangoni. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89Carlo Marangoni, a renowned physicist and teacher . . . . . . . . . . . 90Carlo Marangoni: a direct influence on the young Albert? . . . . . . . 925. Albert’s scientific environment in Milan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95The library of the Lombard Institute (1899-1901). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96Michele’s work on wireless telegraphy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99The discovery of electromagnetic waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99Table of Contents VIIGiuseppe Jung’s library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101A thesis by Michele in 1900-1901? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102An example of following up on scientific questions: thermoelectricity . . . 103Albert’s professional worries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106Links with his father’s new company business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106Looking for a position as a university assistant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107Scientific protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109Albert’s lasting link with Giuseppe Jung through his personallibrary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109The professor of chemistry at the Polytechnic Institute . . . . . . . . . 110The Ansbacher family and the musical environment in Milan . . . . 1116. Three Albert’s scientific questionings (1898-1901) in connectionwith his later 1905 work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113The recurrent problem of the relative motion of matter and ether(1898-1901) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113Reading Ernst Mach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113An attempt to demonstrate the relative motion of matterwith respect to the ether . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115Kyoto 1922 memories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116The abandoned thesis on molecular forces (October 1900-December 1901) 118Capillary phenomena and molecular forces in liquids . . . . . . . . . . 118Extending the subject of the thesis to molecular forces in gases . . . 121Max Reinganum’s article in the Lorentz Jubilee volume . . . . . . . . 122Abandoning the thesis in February 1902 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124Questions about the nature of light and light quanta from 1901? . . . . . . 125A final word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131Index of names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133Selected bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

Compléments

Characteristics

Language(s): English

Audience(s): General pubic, Extended public, Students

Publisher: EDP Sciences

Collection: Sciences & Histoire / Sciences & History

Published: 18 april 2024

Reference eBook [PDF]: L34815

Reference Paper book: L34804

EAN13 eBook [PDF]: 9782759834815

EAN13 Paper book: 9782759834808

Interior: Black & white

Format (in mm) Paper book: 16 x 24

Pages count eBook [PDF]: 150

Pages count Paper book: 150

Size: 1,9 Mo (PDF)

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