Albert Einstein: His Influence on Physics, Philosophy and Politics

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Dart nun, bei den Heiden, bei diesen wirkiich vorbild- haften Menschen erscheint uns das Interesse fiir die Person, fiir den Namen, fiir Gesicht und Gebiirde er- iaubt und natiiriich. H. Hesse, Das Giasperienspiel In 1979 the world celebrates the centenary of Albert Einstein's birth. This offers an occasion to review his life and his scientific work in retrospect, to survey his importance for our time, and to look forward to future years of scientific research. Undoubtedly, Einstein was one of the key-figures in the intellectual history of our century. He influenced physics and philosophy, as well as politics. The creation of general relativity is one of the greatest scientific achievements of our time, as well as the apex of Einsteins's scientific work. Its full implications for the other fields of physics have become clear only in recent years. The technological possibilities offered by space research have enabled mankind to survey the universe for the first time unhindered by the earth's atmosphere. This has led to new discoveries and has shown that even some of the far-reaching conclusions derived from Einstein's theory are borne out by observation. General relativity, which has for a long time been viewed as an outsider among physical theories because of its mathematical difficulty and complexity, is considered now to be the prototype of theories in the fields of elementary particle physics and even solid state physics.