This is Einstein's doctoral dissertation, submitted after much delay to the University of Zurich. In it he uses available physical data on the diffusion of sugar in solution and the effect of dissolved sugar on the solution's viscosity to determine the size of sugar molecules and Avogadro's number. The analysis makes the kinetic theory of heat more definite, in so far as it provides a measure of the real size of molecules, so that they cannot be dismissed as easily as useful fictions. It is the least impressive of Einstein's work of 1905 although, curiously, the most cited."On the motion of small particles suspended in liquids at rest required by the molecular-kinetic theory of heat." (Brownian motion paper) (May 1905; received 11 May 1905)
In this paper Einstein reports that the kinetic theory of heat predicts that small particles suspended in water must execute a random motion visible under the microscope. He suspects this motion is Brownian motion but has insufficient data to affirm it. The prediction is a powerful test of the truth of the kinetic theory of heat. A failure to observe the effect would refute the theory. If it is seen and measured, it provides a way to estimate Avogadro's number. The domain in which the effect is observed is one in which the second law of thermodynamics no longer holds, a disturbing result for the energeticists of the time."On the electrodynamics of moving bodies" (special relativity) (June 1905; received 30 June 1905)
Einstein develops the special theory of relativity in this paper. His concern, as he makes clear in the introduction, is that then current electrodynamics harbors a state of rest, the ether state of rest, and the theory gives very different accounts of electrodynamic processes at rest or moving in the ether. But experiments in electrodynamics and optic have provided no way to determine which is the ether state of rest of all inertial state of motion. Einstein shows that Maxwell-Lorentz electrodynamics has in fact always obeyed a principle of relativity of inertial motion. We just failed to notice it since we tacitly thought that space and time had Newtonian properties, not those of special relativity."Does the inertia of a body depend on its energy content?" (E=mc2) (September 1905; received 27 September 1905) Annalen der Physik, 18(1905), pp. 639-41.
Written as a brief follow-up to the special relativity paper, this short note derives the inertial of energy: all energy E also has an inertia E/c2."On a heuristic viewpoint concerning the production and transformation of light." (light quantum/photoelectric effect paper) (17 March 1905)
While the victory in the 19th century of the electromagnetic wave theory of light over Newton's corpuscle view is undeniable, Einstein shows that its success is incomplete. The theory gives incorrect results for the analysis of heat radiation. He looks at the thermodynamic properties of high frequency heat radiation and finds that this radiation behaves just like a collection of many spatially localized units ("quanta") of energy of magnitude hf (h=Planck's constant, f=frequency). He proceeds to show how this quantum view of light makes sense of several experiments in electrodynamics and optics, the best know being the photoelectric effect. He then described the paper as "revolutionary."
|6 January||Introductory meeting|
|13 January||The statistical papers: doctoral dissertation||Norton|
|20 January||Doctoral dissertation.
|27 January||Brownian motion.||Norton|
|3 February||The light quantum.||Norton|
|Prize awarded to anyone who can equal or better my best candidate for an unexpected use of the statistical mechanical analysis of equilibrium in a field in Einstein's published papers.
...and the winner is Alexandre Guay.
|10 February||The light quantum.||Norton|
|17 February||The light quantum.||Norton|
|24 February and later||Special relativity and E=mc2||Norton|
|2 March||Special relativity and E=mc2||Norton|
|9 March||Spring recess--no classes.|
|16 March||Special relativity and E=mc2||Norton|
|23 March||Essay proposals due.|
|Nuggets from headnotes in Einstein Papers, Vol. 2.||Everyone|
|30 March||Laszlo Szabo, "Does special relativity tell us anything new about space and time?"
Michel Janssen, "Reconsidering a Scientific Revolution: The Case of Einstein versus Lorentz," Physica in Perspective, 4(2002), pp. 421-446.
|Poincare's analysis of clock synchronization. Extracts from The Value of Science||Alexander Afriat|
|6 April||Einstein's argument in the light quantum paper.
Jon Dorling, "Einstein's Introduction of Photons: Argument by Analogy or Deduction from the Phenomena?" British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 22 (1971), pp. 1-8.
|Einstein's use of entropy and S=k log W in the argument for the light quantum.||Bl**dy Norton again.|
|13 April||John D. Norton, "Einstein's Investigations of Galilean Covariant Electrodynamics prior to 1905"
(Easy background reading: John D. Norton, "Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and the Problems in the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies that Led him to it.")
| Wrap up of survey of Einstein's 1905 corpus
John Stachel, "Introduction to Einstein: The Formative Years, pp. 1-22 in Don Howard and John Stachel, eds., Einstein: The Formative Years, 1879-1909.Boston: Birkhaeuser, 1998.
|(Very unlikely that we have time for it.) Sahotra Sarkar, "Physical Approximations and Stochastic Processes in Einstein's 1905 Paper on Brownian Motion," pp. 203- 229 in Don Howard and John Stachel, eds., Einstein: The Formative Years, 1879-1909.Boston: Birkhaeuser, 1998.||Norton|
|20 April||Reprieve. No class meeting.|
|Friday 23 April||Papers due in 1017CL by 4:45pm|