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article imageAlbert Einstein: The White-Haired Wonder

By David Onley     Sep 2, 2005 in Science
He was Time magazine’s Man of the Century. Google the name “Einstein” and more than 18 million websites are referenced. Turn to Austrian artist Werner Horvath’s work called Wisdom and Beauty and it’s Albert and another modern icon, Marilyn Monroe, together on the canvas. Flip to the snarky humour of The Far Side and there’s a cartoon of Einstein studying a blackboard full of equations with the caption: “Einstein discovers time is actually money.” Watch Walter Matthau’s 1994 flick I.Q. and there he is again, this time as the matchmaker for Tim Robbins and Meg Ryan.
Fifty years after his death, Albert Einstein would be amused at all the attention his name and kindly, wise face evokes today. But if he were to sit down to watch Matthau in I.Q., it’s more likely that his attention would quickly move from his cinematic image to the operations of the DVD player itself. Upon learning of its electronic properties, he would smile and say, “I knew that machine was possible back in 1905.” And he would be right.
Both CD and DVD players use lasers that were theorized by Einstein as he promoted his work on photoelectric and photovoltaic effects. And if you’ve bought either of those devices, they were scanned by laser at the checkout counter, something else for which we can credit Einstein.
Albert Einstein maintains a profile far beyond any of his contemporaries in the 20th century. And why not? For it was what Einstein accomplished 100 years ago that continues to influence our world and our lives today.

This article is part of Digital Journal's Summer 2005 issue. To read the rest of this story, pick up your copy in bookstores across Canada or the United States!
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