Introduction

 
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At the beginning of the twentieth-century, two conceptual revolutions occured in science: Quantum mechanics and General relativity .

Each of these two theories has profoundly modified some key part of our understanding of the physical world. Quantum mechanics has changed the way in which we understand the nature of matter and radiation, giving us a picture of reality in which particles behave like waves and waves like particles where our normal physical descriptions become subject to essential uncertainties, and where individual objects can manifest themselves in several places at the same time. Quantum mechanics shows there is a very intimate link between the nature of particles and the nature of forces.

General relativity on the other hand overturned our conceptions of space and time, combining the two into what we now call space-time which is found to be subtly curved in a way that gives rise to that long-familiar, omnipresent but mysterious, phenomenon of gravity. General relativity shows there is a very intimate link between the nature of space-time and the nature of the forces.

Einstein laid foundations stones of both of theses twentieth-century revolutions in the single year of 1905. Not only that, but in this year Einstein also provided fundamental new insights into two other areas, with his doctoral dissertation on the determination of molecular dimensions and with his analysis of the nature of Brownian motion. His work on Brownian motion laid the foundations of an important piece of statistical understanding which has had enormous implications in numerous other fields.

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