Why is Isaac Newton not as famous as Albert Einstein, even though he made many contributions to science than Einstein?

Updated on : January 17, 2022 by Matthew Spencer



Why is Isaac Newton not as famous as Albert Einstein, even though he made many contributions to science than Einstein?

That is a silly and unprofessional question. I think the best answer to similar questions was given by Einstein himself:

"Newton, forgive me," Einstein wrote; "You found the only path that in your time was hardly possible for a man with the highest powers of thought and creativity. The concepts you created are guiding our thinking in physics even today ..."

It is true that Einstein's theory has replaced Newtonian perception of the Universe, but it is Newton's equations that we still use to calculate all but the most extreme motions.

In general, compare the greatest minds in history as they have done

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That is a silly and unprofessional question. I think the best answer to similar questions was given by Einstein himself:

"Newton, forgive me," Einstein wrote; "You found the only path that in your time was hardly possible for a man with the highest powers of thought and creativity. The concepts you created are guiding our thinking in physics even today ..."

It is true that Einstein's theory has replaced Newtonian perception of the Universe, but it is Newton's equations that we still use to calculate all but the most extreme motions.

In general, comparing the greatest minds in history as if they were racehorses is an indicator of a prohibitively low level of public education.

Newton is probably about as famous. They both made important and well-known contributions.

I imagine that almost every student, science student, around the world, learns about Newton's laws of motion and apple gravity. I would be surprised if most of them stayed in physics long enough to learn relatively, etc.

The premise of the question is incorrect.

The problem with Newton is that his publicity agent lost all the photographs, films and audio recordings of his lectures and public appearances when they were destroyed during a house fire in 1726. unit of force, this turned out to have little effect on the score Q for IN, as most people assumed the unit was an ingenious reference to the weight of a large container of fig cookies.

If you judge by the average person, the most famous people are not very important, they are just celebrities.

If you ask scientists or engineers, chances are nsmeNewton admires something important.

F = ma is much more important than E = mc ^ 2

This doesn't even count Newton's calculus.

What makes you think that Newton's achievements are not recognized? He's a bloody hero among scientists.

The premise of the question is silly. People who know Einstein will have learned about Newton. But people who learn about Newton don't really know Einstein.

In my opinion, yes.

The answer obviously depends on your perception of his consideration among the masses (my perception is measured in the choice of him as the central figure of the World Year of Physics 2005), but to put it on an absolute scale: IMHO, he he was one of the greatest physicists, but not the greatest scientist of all time.

To sum up his career, he was really a great scientist who revolutionized many fields when he was very young and fresh, during the so-called annus mirabilis. Over the years his corpus operae expanded to cover different topics with very important contributions. TO

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In my opinion, yes.

The answer obviously depends on your perception of his consideration among the masses (my perception is measured in the choice of him as the central figure of the World Year of Physics 2005), but to put it on an absolute scale: IMHO, he he was one of the greatest physicists, but not the greatest scientist of all time.

To sum up his career, he was really a great scientist who revolutionized many fields when he was very young and fresh, during the so-called annus mirabilis. Over the years his corpus operae expanded to cover different topics with very important contributions. In the end, during his "scientific maturity", he was able to make a really big contribution that revolutionized the way we think about space and time and the topology of the universe and relative cosmology.
Einstein is the perfect model of a theoretical scientist and someone who can be taken as a reference for anyone who wants to undertake theoretical scientific activities.

BUT, when you talk about him in terms of the greatest scientist who ever lived, and to most people the only physicist they know who surpasses even Newton himself, I say that you are definitely overvaluing him.

If we want to single out a single scientist throughout history, other names come to mind for various reasons (for the sake of clarity below, I will speak only of fellow physicists, and not other scientists, with all due respect for the other disciples). ):

1- Except for a part of general relativity, what Einstein did was not build something from scratch. Even special relativity was more or less there already, and it had already been mathematically proven by Henri Poincaré. The names of the useful tools in special relativity are Lorentz transformation, Poincarrè invariance, Minkowsky spacetime. That, from one point of view, makes him the "great puzzle solver", who had connected math and physics, on the other hand, put his contributions in a more feasible perspective.
This in disagreement with, for example, JC Maxwell who had the intuition, developed the tools, published, defended against unfavorable peer pressure ... etc ... his theory of unification of the electrical and magnetic and optical, paving the way. path to perhaps the greatest scientific revolution of all time (Both quantum mechanics and special relativity are at the core of Maxwell's equations, which can be considered an almost complete description of the only force we really know. If I wanted to save just a part of human history so far, I'll save it).

2- Einstein lived in a period of scientific revolutions that followed daily. He did not build the Scientific Revolution on his own, as Newton and Maxwell did, for example. There were questions and experimental evidence, raised from the new massive experimental physics community. There were answer pieces, from the massive new math community.
Einstein took pieces and put them together, that's something really remarkable. But Newton built physics (not just laws of motion, gravitation, and calculus, but also optics, a bit of statistics and atomic concepts for thermodynamics, physical chemistry ... etc ...) only in one field when he was 21 years old. heavy use of mathematics within physics (before the 19th century in Physics curricula there was not even a mathematics course! Mathematics was for engineers, physicists were natural philosophers who didn't care about those trivia!) and was heavily personally accused (articles on electromagnetism were commented to be "algebraic terrorism") and his discoveries belittled by that at the time and had a hard time making a breakthrough in the physics community.

3- Einstein's physical intuitions were brilliant, but not articulate. Don't get me wrong, I think the photoelectric effect despite being an Eurytic concept is great and it revolutionized our way of thinking perhaps more than anything else (less = more energetic !!). But in my humble opinion, even general relativity was not as close to being as articulate and complicated as the discoveries that a few years later would make in quantum mechanics, for example, by Max Born, in my humble opinion, one of the most important physicists. underrated from history. It is one thing to develop an Eurytic concept of the nature of the photon or to develop a unified space-time metric; on a completely different level, develop the concept of observable and associate it with Hermitian operators.

4- He was a "pure" theorist, which is not a bad thing in itself, but when evaluating throughout the history of science and physics, you can find mind-blowing theorists as well as incredibly skilled experimentalists. Galileo devised principles of dynamics and optics after and during the test. Newton was Newton as a theorist, perhaps the most talented of all time except Aristotle. As an experimentalist he was perhaps the most skilled of his time in various fields. He was in charge of scientific investigations, especially against false frauds, for his deep practical knowledge of chemistry (alchemy at that time). He even built a mirror for his telescope whose reflectivity would be unmatched for over a century! If you think about it, he was the real Tony Stark in the 17th century!
That was in other times, but in Einstein's time there was Enrico Fermi, whose experience in the field of theoretical physics was almost equaled by his ability in experimental work surpassing the best professionals in the fields of engineering and protoinformatics in the one who was a pioneer. . Anedoctic references in the field of nuclear physics elevate him to being almost a mythical figure (when the team of technicians of the "electronic brain" of the Chicago Lab, now Fermilab, could not guess some error for a couple of days, called Fermi that used to solve the problems in just a few hours).

5- Lack of academic activities not related to research. Although the Academy is centered on research, the Academy is not only attacking for research. It is also politics to be founded and especially to teach to grow the next generation of great scientists who can capitalize on their experience and knowledge. Einstein was a fantastic researcher, but a teacher is more than that. Some people shaped the scientific culture of a country around him, teaching scores of students and half a dozen future Nobel laureates.
Niels Bohr in Copenhagen founded, thanks to Carlsberg beer (yes!), And built the largest center for theoretical physics that was the fulcrum of world research on the subject of quantum mechanics for half a century. This made Denmark a prolific country focused on science (especially physics).
Lev Landau was an incredible teacher and mentor and built a real group of experts, he mentored dozens of the best teachers in Russia and the world; his legacy continues even now, spreading to different countries and fields (I met a Harvard Biology professor who was a student of Lifshitz, a student of Landau). Rutherford did the same for England. Plank for Germany, Fermi for Italy and the United States ... etc ... Each country has its iconic scientists. Einstein's presence in Zurich, or Max Plank Institute, or Princeston, despite the fact that Einstein was a "puzzle solver," changed the geography of science almost nothing. We had him visiting Milan on a regular basis for a few years and we didn't even notice him until recent historical studies.

6- Lack of romance. Last and maybe (or maybe not) least, some great scientists had to overcome great obstacles, premature deaths, and yet they managed to enter history. Faraday was a completely illiterate street boy until he learned to read by himself while working as a servant at a bookbinding. He never learned to do mathematics and Maxwell, his student (speaking of legacies), still calls him "the greatest theoretical scientist who ever lived." In studying his articles, some argue that Gauss, "the prince of mathematicians," suffered from dyslexia. Galois, the father of group theory, was a political activist and died at age 21 after a duel related to romance.
Many are the attempts to bring some romance into Einstein's life, painting him as a high school dropout who was never appreciated as a student. The truth is that he was a reasonably well-adjusted student to whom the parents give him the opportunity to enter one of the most prestigious schools in the world (ETH Zurich) two years in advance, far from his parents' house (Milan) and yes , he failed a bit, but he had two years notice. He then worked with a respectable and well-regarded job that he chose to gain access to documents and information while being paid quite well (not the norm for a PhD student in the early 19th century).

So Einstein is perhaps overrated to be considered "the perfect scientist", because science is not just "science". First of all, there are a lot of things to put into context about your discoveries. In addition, a scientist is not only who wrote the formula, but also who builds the institution and bequeaths their knowledge and meta-knowledge forming a legacy.

But one thing for sure overrated is IQ, which is a very stupid thing to be considered when evaluating a person, as it is a totally inappropriate attempt to measure something that is mostly made up of soft limits like intelligence. Most "high IQ" people never received a proper IQ test. There is an interesting story about Feynmann, who was attributed by the Mensa association to having an IQ> 200 after receiving the Nobel Prize. But Feynmann revealed that the IQ test he did measured a somewhat remarkable 122. Evaluating a scientist by his IQ is like evaluating a soccer player by his press chest: ok,

Wow, comparing two of the greatest geniuses who walk the earth now, right?

Okay, let's start. I will start by telling you a quote from Einstein himself 1:

As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness that surrounds it.

How is this quote relevant to our current question? Well, Newton and Einstein lived in different eras, with different levels of knowledge known to mankind during their existence. Science has this inherent characteristic of branching out over time, as answering one question often opens up more unanswered questions, and the process continues. So science bec

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Footnotes

1 A quote from Albert Einstein

Wow, comparing two of the greatest geniuses who walk the earth now, right?

Okay, let's start. I will start by telling you a quote from Einstein himself 1:

As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness that surrounds it.

How is this quote relevant to our current question? Well, Newton and Einstein lived in different eras, with different levels of knowledge known to mankind during their existence. Science has this inherent characteristic of branching out over time, as answering one question often opens up more unanswered questions, and the process continues. So science becomes more extensive, complete, and complicated as time goes on.

Naturally, it becomes increasingly difficult for our brain to deal with the complexity of new problems that arise, because first we have to reach the already established level of knowledge, as Newton said, "stand on the shoulders of giants", and then use that. as a launch pad to continue taking off from there.

Newton lived in the 17th century when physics was still taking small steps. We didn't have state-of-the-art telescopes and observatories to do detailed studies of planetary motion and we were just beginning to learn the basics. At this juncture, Newton made a significant contribution in the shape of his three laws of motion and even devised calculus, an important mathematical tool for physics, although some believe that he stole that idea from Leibniz 2. He also meticulously studied gravity and optics.

Newton's ideas paved the way for the Age of Enlightenment and had far-reaching impacts, from the Industrial Revolution 3 to the Apollo space missions 4. Newton's laws of motion paved the way for classical mechanics, which formed one of the most important pillars on which physics is based and is further built today. 5

This was in the mid and late seventeenth century. On the other hand, the 1900s ushered in the Einstein era. This man's contribution to knowledge was also diverse and wide, like Newton. He started his career in a field very different from the one he finally ended up with. His doctoral thesis was in the field of molecular movements, and he leaned more towards chemistry, with regard to viscosity and diffusion in solutions 6. He then went on to study the photoelectric effect, which later earned him the Nobel Prize 7, before moving on to Brownian motion.

From then on, Einstein found a new obsession: the physical reality of space and time and how they are related. His work was crucial in debunking the ether hypothesis and established the mass energy equivalence in the form of the famous formula: E-mc ^ 2. This was a groundbreaking new idea that had a wide impact and revolutionized physics.

From then on, he became obsessed with planetary motion and, in particular, the anomalous precession of Mercury's perihelion 8, which was not explained by Newton's laws. Trying to explain this seemingly small discrepancy led him to understand the true nature of gravity. It made use of complex mathematical ideas and it is an extraordinary genre and monumental endeavors eventually culminated in the formulation of the general theory of relativity, and its implications were so drastic and strange that it was initially viewed with much skepticism, before being tested by a giant. experiment performed during a total solar eclipse. This experiment showed that the sun caused the deflection of light, which is a consequence of general relativity 9.

This was just the tip of an overwhelming iceberg of the impacts this theory had on physics. From gravitational lensing, observing gravitational redshift, to the recent discovery of gravitational waves from a pair of binary pulsars, all of these studies, ideas, and experiments were an outgrowth of Einstein's work on general relativity.

Einstein's works also had several practical applications in our modern life. The GPS navigation system 10, for example, faces a delay due to the influence of Earth's gravity on the satellites involved, and its clocks must be periodically corrected to maintain the system. Einstein spent the last part of his life trying to come up with a great unified theory of everything. Today, efforts in that direction are still based on string theory, one of those candidates that aims to be a single framework that fits all.

While it is absolutely true that both Newton and Einstein made significant contributions to knowledge, and even Newton's Laws were a starting point for Einstein to invent general relativity, the problems Einstein tackled were much more complex and with more far-reaching impacts. in science than Einstein's. Newton. Newton did his studies when physics was still in its infancy and did most of the groundwork, but Einstein took it, took it over, and tackled much more complex mathematical challenges.

So Einstein has had a relatively greater influence on physics!

Footnotes

1 A quote from Albert Einstein 2 Newton against Leibniz; The calculation controversy 3 The industrial revolution and a Newtonian culture 4 The science and technology of the Apollo space program 5 Classical mechanics - Wikipedia 6 physics / 0504201 About Einstein's doctoral thesis 7 The Nobel Prize in Physics 1921 8 Mercury's perihelion precession 9 May 29, 1919: A great eclipse, relatively speaking 10 GPS and relativity

Newton's achievements were simply much greater than Einstein's. What Einstein did was amazing, of course. But Einstein found flaws and inaccuracies in Newton's laws and, by taking various conceptual leaps, was able to solve them in surprising new ways, uncovering many surprising and previously unexpected facts about the universe.

What Newton did was something much bigger than that. He took a bunch of rough and largely wrong ideas about how things move and why, and arranged them into a single frame. Where Aristotle had said that a constant force makes things move at a constant speed.

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Newton's achievements were simply much greater than Einstein's. What Einstein did was amazing, of course. But Einstein found flaws and inaccuracies in Newton's laws and, by taking various conceptual leaps, was able to solve them in surprising new ways, uncovering many surprising and previously unexpected facts about the universe.

What Newton did was something much bigger than that. He took a bunch of rough and largely wrong ideas about how things move and why, and arranged them into a single frame. Where Aristotle had said that a constant force makes things move at a constant speed, Newton said that no, things move at a constant speed by themselves. A constant force implies a constant acceleration.

Aristotle thought that things fall because everything had a natural place in the world towards which it was moving. Newton invented the idea of ​​"gravity" instead, and described exactly how gravity acted on objects and exactly under what circumstances, though not "why."

Newton saw that the same force that causes apples to fall to the ground is the same force that causes the Moon to orbit the Earth and the Earth to orbit the Sun. He took the word "gravity", which was previously only used to describe serious situations, and he adopted it to refer to an invisible force that he invented, despite the fact that nothing seemed to physically connect falling objects to Earth. The very nature of what we consider "physical" has changed.

In the course of doing all of this, he invented a new type of mathematics, known as "calculus," capable of dealing with continually changing quantities.

Newton was the first to realize that white light is made up of all the colors in the spectrum.

Newton's ideas became so ingrained in our ways of thinking about the world that anyone who now says that "Newton invented gravity" is liable to be ridiculed. But Newton invented gravity, faced with great opposition to the idea. Yes, things have always fallen, but Newton was responsible for our most popular way of explaining why things fall.

Newton convinced us to accept the idea of ​​an invisible force and consider it as an "explanation." In doing so, he was accused of occultism, but, as he pointed out, his equations worked; His notion of gravity successfully explained and predicted the motions of the planets, the trajectories of cannonballs, and a wide range of other things as well.

Newton was the first person to mention what we now call "energy", although he mentioned it only in a side note in Principia. He also defined "momentum", which he called "momentum."

Newton basically created a complete framework for viewing the physical world from what was previously chaotic and disorganized, inventing new concepts and new mathematics in the process. Newton, more than anyone else, invented physics.

We use Newton's laws and the concepts derived from them in engineering, architecture, space flight, and basically in the design of anything mechanical.

There was never anything inevitable in the concepts that Newton invented. Someone else could have come up with different concepts. In fact, the mechanics later derived by William Rowan Hamilton differs substantially from Newtonian mechanics, although it relies heavily on it. General relativity also reinterprets gravity as a curvature (or, equivalently, a field) in spacetime.

But Newton's ideas work and are still the simplest way for us to interpret the mechanics of the world we see around us.


Rereading what I have written, I see that it may seem a bit contradictory that you said that Newton did not explain "why" gravity worked and yet gravity is the explanation we use to explain "why" things fall. The fact is that Newton was accused of occultism, with his speech on the invisible forces, without the help of him referring to gravity as "the hand of God". But Newton's response to his critics was that his math worked. He predicted the movements of the planets and also a wide range of more mundane things. And after all, there were no gods or spirits involved in it, at least not in an obvious or direct way!

One of the most fascinating things about Newton, at least to me, is that he fundamentally changed what we consider to be an explanation in physics. He realized that an explanation doesn't have to consist of things colliding with other things; it just has to work. If it works, over time, the familiarity makes it seem perfectly reasonable, even obvious.

I will confidently say that it is Newton.

While popular physics is based on the most fantastic conclusions of modern physics - relativity, string theory, and superconductivity, etc., the challenge in the academic study of physics really has to do with mathematics.

History took a long time to convince the public that mathematics could describe physics exactly, that is, force is simply acceleration times mass. And unlike most other sciences, principles of physics like Newton's law of force have no exceptions. Modern physics students are privileged to look back, this was not the case.

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I will confidently say that it is Newton.

While popular physics is based on the most fantastic conclusions of modern physics - relativity, string theory, and superconductivity, etc., the challenge in the academic study of physics really has to do with mathematics.

History took a long time to convince the public that mathematics could describe physics exactly, that is, force is simply acceleration times mass. And unlike most other sciences, principles of physics like Newton's law of force have no exceptions. Modern physics students have the privilege of looking back, this was not the case in Newton's day. Galileo had to drop objects from the top of the Tower of Pisa just to convince the masses of gravitation. Newton at his worst had to unlearn calculus only so that the least mathematically trained could understand his arguments. What amazes me is how Newton and Galileo managed to see what is correct before hindsight came along.

Once physics entered its second century, competition in physics became more focused on finding existing mathematical theories than its physical counterparts. Sturm-Liouville also promoted the idea of ​​simultaneous eigen states. Green functions dictated the idea of ​​border effects. Cluster theory identified exotic particles that the human eye cannot see.

Einstein toyed with this idea and it was more successful than anyone else. Special relativity was really about finding a physical equivalent for the Lorenz transformation. General relativity was a truly clever manipulation of the metric tensor to simplify gravitation to a mere geometric term.

Interestingly, what really impresses Einstein's physicists are his achievements that the public least notices. An example is spontaneous emission, which ultimately led to the invention of the LASER. This particular work of hers was largely based on intuition and had a conclusion that could not even be proven with the technology available at the time.

Where Einstein probably scores better than Newton is intelligence. It has been widely suggested that Newton probably had a late development. He was once bullied at school for not being able to explain how a windmill works. Although it should be noted that Newton has far fewer historical accounts about him than Einstein, born much later, who has several biographies written about him. This makes it drastically difficult to compare your individual skills.

It is unlikely that in the future we will produce such excellent men in the field of physics. Physicists agree that we already understand 99% of physics, the remaining work is more about looking for exotic examples to justify vaguely proven theories. Therefore, physics today is about finding exotic materials (Majorana fermions), identifying new particles (Higgs boson) or identifying sources of radiation (dark energy).

Newton's claim is obvious. He created modern physics. His system described the behavior of the entire cosmos, and while others before him had invented grand schemes, Newton's was different. His theories were mathematical, making specific predictions to be confirmed by experiments in the real world. It is not surprising that those after Newton called him lucky, "because there is only one universe to discover, and he discovered it."
But what about Einstein? Well, Einstein felt compelled to apologize to Newton. "Newton, forgive me," Einstein wrote in his Autobiographical Notes. "You found the only way that, in

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Newton's claim is obvious. He created modern physics. His system described the behavior of the entire cosmos, and while others before him had invented grand schemes, Newton's was different. His theories were mathematical, making specific predictions to be confirmed by experiments in the real world. It is not surprising that those after Newton called him lucky, "because there is only one universe to discover, and he discovered it."
But what about Einstein? Well, Einstein felt compelled to apologize to Newton. "Newton, forgive me," Einstein wrote in his Autobiographical Notes. "You found the only way that, in your day, was almost possible for a man of higher thought and creative power." Forgive him? So that? By replacing Newton's system with yours and, like Newton,
MIRACLE YEAR
That's the difference. Young physicists who play the "who's smarter" game really wonder "How will I measure up?" Is there any chance of calling, if not Maxwell, maybe Lorentz? But Einstein? Do not go there. Match this:
In 1905, Einstein is 26 years old, is a patent examiner and works in physics on his own. After hours, he creates the special theory of relativity, in which he shows that measurements of time and distance vary systematically as something moves relative to something else. Which means Newton was wrong. Space and time are not absolute, and the relativistic universe we inhabit is not the one Newton "discovered".
In March, Einstein created the quantum theory of light, the idea that light exists as little packets or particles that we now call photons. Along with Max Planck's work on quanta of heat, and later work by Niels Bohr on quanta of matter, Einstein's work anchors the most striking idea in twentieth-century physics: we live in a quantum universe, built from tiny, discrete chunks of energy and import.
Then, in April and May, Einstein publishes two articles. In one he invents a new method for counting and determining the size of atoms or molecules in a given space, and in the other he explains the phenomenon of Brownian motion. The net result is proof that atoms actually exist - it was still a problem at the time - and the end of a millennial debate about the fundamental nature of chemical elements.
Einstein's 1905 still evokes wonder. Historians call it the miracle year.
Then in June, Einstein completes special relativity, adding a twist to the story: Einstein's March article treated light as particles, but special relativity sees light as a continuous field of waves. Alice's Red Queen can accept many impossible things before breakfast, but it takes an extremely confident mind to do so. Einstein, 26, sees light as wave and particle, choosing the attribute he needs to tackle each problem in turn. That is hard.
And, of course, Einstein is not done. Later, in 1905, comes an extension of special relativity in which Einstein shows that energy and matter are linked in the most famous relationship in physics: E = mc2. (The energy content of a body is equal to the mass of the body times the speed of light squared.) At first, even Einstein does not understand all the implications of his formula, but even then he suggests that the heat produced by the radium could mark the conversion of small amounts of the mass of radio salts into energy.
In short, an astonishing outburst: Einstein's 1905 still evokes awe. Historians call it annus mirabilis, the miraculous year. Einstein goes from the smallest to the largest scale (because special relativity is built into all motion throughout the universe), through fundamental problems about the nature of energy, matter, motion, time, and time. space, all while putting in 40 hours a week. at the patent office.
That alone would have been enough to secure Einstein's reputation. But it is what follows that is almost more remarkable. After 1905, Einstein achieved what no one has equaled since: a 20-year career at the forefront of physics. Despite all the miracles of his miracle year, his finest work is yet to come in 1907.
Credit-
Thomas Levenson, an independent filmmaker, produced the NOVA show "Einstein Revealed," which originally aired in 1996. He has published three books , most recently Einstein in Berlin (Bantam, 2004), and is also a graduate professor of scientific writing. program at MIT.
Source:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/einstein-genius-among-geniuses.html

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