1194 words - 5 pages

Stemming from the first years of the 20th century, quantum mechanics has had a monumental influence on modern science. First explored by Max Planck in the 1900s, Einstein modified and applied much of the research in this field. This begs the question, “how did Einstein contribute to the development and research of quantum mechanics?” Before studying how Einstein’s research contributed to the development of quantum mechanics, it is important to examine the origins of the science itself. Einstein took much of Planck’s experimental “quantum theory” research and applied it in usable ways to existing science. He also greatly contributed to the establishment of the base for quantum mechanics research today. Along with establishing base research in the field, Einstein’s discoveries have been modified and updated to apply to our more advanced understanding of this science today. Einstein greatly contributed to the foundation of quantum mechanics through his research, and his theories and discoveries remain relevant to science even today.

Quantum mechanics was pioneered by Max Planck, who developed the formula E = hv—which is the base for much of the quantum mechanical field. Quantum theory (the origin of quantum mechanics), as described in Talking Tech, was, at its early core, a handful of theories and hypotheses regarding energy quantization and wave-particle duality (Rheingold and Levine). The book goes on to explain how this realm of science is basically an extension of physics attempting to derive a mathematical specification of how the entirety of the universe operates and behaves at the subatomic level. Conversely, it also describes how quantum theory also diverges from classical physics in that it stipulates that the only distinction between waves and particles is the manner in which they are quantified—hence the name quantum mechanics. This was the area of the science on which Einstein primarily focused.

Einstein built further upon the foundation established by Planck, particularly in using his theory of a quantum of energy for his experiments with the photoelectric effect. Common belief at the time stated that the energy of the electrons released by the radiation should be equal to that of the radiation itself. However, as explicated in Einstein’s Contribution, Einstein found that the energy of the radiation does not determine the energy of the electrons released, but rather the number of electrons released, with one quantum of energy being proportionate to the required amount for the release of one electron (Einstein's Contribution). Or, as Einstein himself wrote, “da man entweder auf den Grundsatz der Mechanik, nach welchem ein-ursprünglisch ruhender, äußeren Kräften nicht unterworfenenr Körper keine Translationbewegung ausführen kann, verzichten oder annehmen muß, daß die Trägheit eines Körpers nach dem angegebenen Gesetze vom dessen Energieinhalt abhänge” (Einstein). Roughly: “Since, on the principle of mechanics of something...

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