(March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955)
Brilliant and insightful, Albert Einstein is 20th century’s most influential scientist. He waltzed atop abstracts for the two decades spanning from 1905 to 1925. In the process, he transformed our perception of the universe. Even a century later, many of us are still grappling with his new way of interpreting nature. Having built on the wonderful works of Bernhard Riemann and William K. Clifford, the Relativity Theory he postulated would excite and fascinate our world for decades: attracting unprecedented press coverage and public interest in science. Einstein was cordial, and encouraged many of his colleagues. His ingenuity was never in doubt. Though, they were prone to exaggerations: no thanks to media hypes. Various IQ scores were attributed to him, despite the fact that the man never bothered about such frivolities. His genial abilities saw him correspond with his peers on both academic and social issues. It is ironic (yet unsurprising) that the Relativity Theory, which brought him so much fame, failed to secure him a Nobel Prize. It was his Photoelectric Effect research that did. Nonetheless, he remains a colossus whose works revolutionized physics. As such, he emerged as the de facto yardstick with which scientific brilliance is measured. Relativity aside, Einstein’s other works pertained to Statistical Mechanics, Electrodynamics, Optics, and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox. About 300 publications are credited to him. An asteroid and a lunar crater are dedicated to him. However, his quest for a Unified Field Theory coupled with attempts to refute some verities of Quantum Physics, were unsuccessful.