What was Einstein really given the Nobel Prize for?

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Albert Einstein is known to most people as a theoretical physicist and creator of the theory of relativity. But the theory of relativity is not the only scientific work of a scientist who significantly influenced modern physics. During his life he wrote more than 300 scientific papers on physics and more than 150 books and articles on the history and philosophy of science.

In 1905, Einstein published his article "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies," which marked the beginning of the theory of relativity. In the same year he laid the foundation for quantum theory and deeply explored the topic of Brownian motion. Albert Einstein's theories were so revolutionary for their time that not all scientists agreed with them, and many remained faithful to the classical concepts until the end of life.

Naturally, Einstein was nominated for the Nobel Prize after becoming a scientist of international renown. For the first time this happened in 1910, but the Nobel Committee found the experimental data supporting the theory of relativity unconvincing. During the next 11 years the physicist became a candidate for the prize 9 times (!), but the committee again and again rejected his candidacy. And this despite the fact that the application for the prize for Einstein was also submitted by such physicists as Lorenz, Bohr and Planck.

Einstein finally received the Nobel Prize as early as 1921. The committee found a diplomatic solution: realizing that it was impossible not to celebrate such an outstanding scientist, the prize was awarded. But not for the revolutionary (and at the time insufficiently proven) theory of relativity, but for Einstein's proven and verified work "the theory of the photoelectric effect". The prize did not mention the theory of relativity, but only included the note "and other works in theoretical physics. But the scientist was also satisfied with such a variant - after all, he devoted the traditional speech of the Nobel laureate entirely to the theory of relativity and not to the photoelectric effect.


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