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Einstein’s 23 Biggest Mistakes

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Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius, by Hans Ohanian

The book does exactly what it says: offers of a critique of Albert Einstein’s failures, including the first seven proofs of E=mc2, and his early understanding of clock synchronization, which is the basis of the Theory of Relativity (“He still clings to the misconceptions of synchronization, fifty years after the publication of his 1905 paper”).Ohanian talks about how geniuses naturally have a harder time, well, believing they’re wrong. He says:”Once a genius falls into a seductive mistake, it’s liable to become a idee fixe. He is then blind to the mistake, and if this blindness is compounded by stubbornness, he will be deft to criticism, and he will cling to his mistake forever.”

Galileo and Newton were also guilty of idee fixe, which is an obsession “held so firmly as to resist any attempt to modify it,” in their understanding of tidal theory.

Here’s a chronology of Einstein’s biggest mistakes, outlined in the book and also courtesy of Discover magazine:

1905 Mistake in clock synchronization procedure on which Einstein based special relativity

1905 Failure to consider Michelson-Morley experiment

1905 Mistake in transverse mass of high-speed particles

1905 Multiple mistakes in the mathematics and physics used in calculation of viscosity of liquids, from which Einstein deduced size of molecules

1905 Mistakes in the relationship between thermal radiation and quanta of light

1905 Mistake in the first proof of E = mc2

1906 Mistakes in the second, third, and fourth proofs of E = mc2

1907 Mistake in the synchronization procedure for accelerated clocks

1907 Mistakes in the Principle of Equivalence of gravitation and acceleration

1911 Mistake in the first calculation of the bending of light

1913 Mistake in the first attempt at a theory of general relativity

1914 Mistake in the fifth proof of E = mc2

1915 Mistake in the Einstein-de Haas experiment

1915 Mistakes in several attempts at theories of general relativity

1916 Mistake in the interpretation of Mach’s principle

1917 Mistake in the introduction of the cosmological constant (the “biggest blunder”)

1919 Mistakes in two attempts to modify general relativity

1925 Mistakes and more mistakes in the attempts to formulate a unified theory

1927 Mistakes in discussions with Bohr on quantum uncertainties

1933 Mistakes in interpretation of quantum mechanics (Does God play dice?)

1934 Mistake in the sixth proof of E = mc2

1939 Mistake in the interpretation of the Schwarzschild singularity and gravitational collapse (the “black hole”)

1946 Mistake in the seventh proof of E = mc2

via Einstein’s 23 Biggest Mistakes


Written by Mjay

July 27, 2011 at 19:42

Posted in FYI Stuff

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