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Timeline: The Incredible Life of Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein was one of the most brilliant and influential mathematical physicists in human history. Even 62 years after his passing, he is still widely regarded as the prototypical genius.

Today’s timeline from KickResume is an inventive and entertaining look at Einstein’s life and achievements.

Albert Einstein

Younger Life

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, in the German city of Ulm. From an early age, Einstein was fascinated by mathematics, science, and music.

While he would eventually go on to reveal the inner workings of the universe, Einstein struggled as a student, failed exams, and had dust-ups with authority figures.

In 1903, he married a former classmate, Mileva Marić, though his parents disapproved. Recently discovered letters indicate that Marić – who was also a physicist – may have contributed significantly to his groundbreaking work. The couple had a daughter in 1902 (who was given up for adoption), and later had two sons.

Annus Mirabilis

In 1905, Albert Einstein was working as a clerk in the patent office in Bern, Switzerland. The 26-year-old had only recently submitted his doctoral thesis to the University of Zurich, but was hard at work writing four papers in a single year that would eventually turn the world of science on its head. That is why 1905 is often referred to as an annus mirabilis (or “miraculous year” in Latin).

To summarize: Albert Einstein laid the foundation of quantum physics, introduced special relativity, and established the scientific basis of nuclear energy in his spare time.

From Science Star to Supernova

By 1919, while working as a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Berlin, Einstein theorized that an impending solar eclipse would provide a rare opportunity to observe gravity’s effect on light. When reports came back that his predictions were proven correct, it not only sent a shock-wave through the scientific community, but the whole world.

New Theory of the Universe. Newtonian Ideas Overthrown.

– Headline in the London Times

Years after Einstein’s miracle year, his immense accomplishments started to become common knowledge. The physicist, now an overnight celebrity, spent the next few years traveling, doing speaking engagements, and collecting awards. He was also a founder of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1921, and won a Nobel Prize that same year.

Albert Einstein was an outspoken pacifist and Jew, so as Hitler rose to power in Germany, he made the decision to emigrate to the United States. He accepting a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. The physicist would never set foot in the country of his birth again.

Einstein and the Atomic Era

A month before World War II, Einstein and his colleague, Leo Szilárd, wrote numerous letters to President Franklin D. Roosevelt sounding the alarm that Germany was developing “extremely powerful bombs of a new type”. The President took the letters seriously and soon after, the Advisory Committee on Uranium (a precursor to the Manhattan Project) was created.

Einstein carried the guilt of his role in sparking the development of atomic weapons, and he would continue to speak out against their use throughout the 1940s and onward.

The Fight For Equality

Seeing the parallels between the treatment of Jews in Germany and African Americans in his adopted country, Einstein became a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He campaigned for civil rights and in a famous speech at Lincoln University, he labeled racism “a disease of white people,” and added, “I do not intend to be quiet about it.”

Later Life

In 1952, Einstein declined an offer from Israel’s premier, David Ben-Gurion, to become president of Israel.

At the age of 76, Einstein suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm, but opted against surgery upon arriving at the hospital. “I want to go when I want,” he stated at the time. “It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.” Albert Einstein died in his sleep on April 18, 1955.

Though the man himself is gone, the legacy and unique world-view of the eccentric physicist continues to influence and inspire humanity to this day.

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Misc

Watching the Sky Fall: Visualizing a Century of Meteorites

This data visualization depicts every meteorite that was observed hitting the Earth over a 100-year period, between 1913-2012.

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Watching the Sky Fall: Visualizing a Century of Meteorites

Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said “The chances that your tombstone will read ‘Killed by an Asteroid’ are about the same as they’d be for ‘Killed in Airplane Crash’.”

Part of the reason for this is the Earth’s atmospheric ability to burn up inbound space rocks before they reach the surface, a process that ensures that most meteors never become meteorites.

Of the 33,162 meteorites found in the past 100 years, only 625 were seen. Today’s visualization from data designer Tiffany Farrant-Gonzalez groups these 625 observed meteorites by the year they fell, classification, mass, and landing location on Earth.

Asteroid, Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites

Not all flying space rocks are the same. Their origins and trajectories define its type.

Asteroid: A large rocky body in space, in orbit around the Sun.
Meteoroid: Much smaller rocks or particles in orbit around the Sun.
Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes, it becomes a meteor, or a shooting star.
Meteorite: If a small asteroid or large meteoroid survives its fiery passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and lands on Earth’s surface.
Bolide: A very bright meteor that often explodes in the atmosphere, also known as a fireball.

Classification

This graphic classifies meteorites into four types based on their composition: stony, stony-iron, iron and other.

StonyStony-IronIronOther
Achondites
Chrondites
Unclassifed
Mesoiderites
Pallasites
Magmatic
Non-magmatic or Primitive
Doubtful Meteorites
Pseudometeorite

Top 5 Meteorites by Size

While half of all observed meteorites weighed less than 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs), there are a few exceptional ones that stand out. The graphic highlights the five largest meteorites ever observed, and when they fell:

LocatonSizeYearType
Sikhote-Alin, Russia23 MT1947Iron
Jilin, China4 MT1976Stony
Allende, Mexico2 MT1969Stony
Norton County, USA1.1 MT1948Stony
Kunya-Urgench, Turkmenistan1.1 MT1998Stony

Each category differs in their amount of iron-nickel metal and what they reveal about the early solar system.

Fireballs in the Sky: Bolides

Small asteroids frequently enter and disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere randomly around the globe, creating fireballs known as bolides. NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program mapped data gathered by U.S. government sensors from 1994 to 2013.

Source: NASA

The data indicates that small asteroids impacted Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a bolide (or fireball), on 556 separate occasions over a 20-year period. Almost all asteroids of this size disintegrate in the atmosphere and are harmless.

A notable exception was the Chelyabinsk event in 2013, which was the largest known natural object to have entered Earth’s atmosphere since the 1908 Tunguska event. A house-sized asteroid entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk at over 11 miles per second, and blew apart 14 miles above the ground.

The explosion released an energy equivalent to ~440,000 tons of TNT, generating a shock wave that shattered windows over 200 square miles—damaging several buildings and injuring over 1,600 people.

Look Out Above

While the night sky appears to be a beautiful tableau of the cosmos, these two visualizations paint a dramatic galactic battle. Rocks inundate our planet as it moves through the darkness of space. The resiliency of Earth’s atmosphere to erode these invaders has allowed life to flourish⁠—until the next big one comes through.

Remember the Dinosaurs?

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Mapped: Top Countries by Tourist Spending

How much do your vacations contribute to your destination of choice? This visualization shows the countries that receive the most tourist spending.

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Mapped: Top Countries by Tourist Spending

Many people spend their days looking forward to their next getaway. But do you know exactly how much these vacation plans contribute economically to your chosen destination?

Today’s visualization from HowMuch.net highlights the countries in which tourists spend the most money. Locations have been resized based on spending amounts, which come from the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Oh, The Places Tourists Will Go

Across the different regions, Europe’s combined tourist spending dominates at $570 billion. Easy access to closely-located countries, both via rail networks and a shared currency, may be a reason why almost 710 million visitors toured the region in 2018.

Asia-Pacific, which includes Australia and numerous smaller islands, saw the greatest growth in tourism expenditures. Total spending reached $435 billion in 2018—a 7% year-over-year increase, from 348 million visitors. Not surprisingly, some areas such as Macao (SAR) tend to rely heavily on tourists as a primary economic driver.

Here’s how other continental regions fared, in terms of tourist spending and visitors:

  • Americas
    Total expenditures: $333 billion
    Total visitors: 216 million
    Expenses per visitor: $1,542
  • Middle East
    Total expenditures: $73 billion
    Total visitors: 60 million
    Expenses per visitor: $1,216
  • Africa
    Total expenditures: $38 billion
    Total visitors: 67 million
    Expenses per visitor: $567

Of course, these numbers only paint a rudimentary picture of global tourism, as they vary greatly even within these regions. Let’s look closer at the individual country data for 2018, compared to previous years.

The Top Tourist Hotspots, By Country

It seems that many tourists are gravitating towards the same destinations, as evidenced by both the number of arrivals and overall expenditures for 2017 and 2018 alike.

Country2018 Spending2018 Arrivals Country2017 Spending2017 Arrivals
1. U.S. 🇺🇸$214.5B79.6M1. U.S. 🇺🇸$210.7B74.8M
2. Spain 🇪🇸$73.8B82.8M2. Spain 🇪🇸$68B81.8M
2. France 🇫🇷$67.4B89.4M3. France 🇫🇷$60.7B86.9M
4. Thailand 🇹🇭$63B38.3M4. Thailand 🇹🇭$57.5B35.4M
5. UK 🇬🇧$51.9B36.3M5. UK 🇬🇧51.2B37.7M
6. Italy 🇮🇹$49.3B62.1M6. Italy 🇮🇹$44.2B58.3M
7. Australia 🇦🇺$45B9.2M7. Australia 🇦🇺$41.7B8.8M
8. Germany 🇩🇪$43B38.9M8. Germany 🇩🇪$39.8B37.5M
9. Japan 🇯🇵$41.1B31.2M9. Macao (SAR) 🇲🇴$35.6B17M
10. China 🇨🇳$40.4B62.9M10. Japan 🇯🇵$34.1B28.6M

Source: World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Note that data is for international tourism only and does not include domestic tourism.

The top contenders have remained fairly consistent, as each country brings something unique to the table—from natural wonders to historic and man-made structures.

Where Highest-Spending Tourists Come From

The nationality of tourists also seems to be a factor in these total expenditures. Chinese tourists spent $277 billion internationally in 2018, likely thanks to the increasing consumption of an emerging, affluent middle class.

Interestingly, this amount is almost twice the combined $144 billion that American tourists spent overseas in the same year.

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