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100 years since Einstein's less known revolution

Summary: 1
100 years since Einstein's less known
From the pollen dance to atoms and back
By David Andelman and Haim Diamant
Twentieth century physics was based on three conceptual revolutions, two of which
are well known to the general public: the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.
The third revolution statistical physics has had less successful public relations
despite its vast implications for our daily life. Statistical physics is the theory that
allows us to relate the properties of multi-component systems (e.g., the paper or
computer display you are currently looking at) to their microscopic components and
interactions with the environment. Albert Einstein made crucial contributions to each
of these three revolutions, all published during the miraculous year of 1905. In this
article we focus on his contribution to statistical physics and its far-reaching impact
on a surprisingly broad range of contemporary scientific areas.
The Third Revolution
When we look at a glass of water or a piece of metal, without realizing it we are
observing an enormous number of atoms and molecules. In one liter of water, for
example, there are about 1025


Source: Andelman, David - School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University


Collections: Materials Science; Physics