Society: Arts and Science – March 14

Today is International Thanksgiving Day. Find a way to celebrate your life today…
Swedish and Norwegian committees bestow Nobel Prizes in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. In 1895, the will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Paul Ehrlich was born on this date in 1854. He was a German physician and scientist who worked in the fields of haematology, immunology, and chemotherapy. He invented the precursor technique to Gram staining bacteria. The methods he developed for staining tissue made it possible to distinguish between different types of blood cells, which led to the capability to diagnose numerous blood diseases. His laboratory discovered arsphenamine (Salvarsan), the first effective medicinal treatment for syphilis, thereby initiating and also naming the concept of chemotherapy. Ehrlich popularised the concept of a “magic bullet”. He also made a decisive contribution to the development of an antiserum to combat diphtheria and conceived a method for standardising therapeutic serums. In 1908, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions to immunology. In 1914 Ehrlich signed the controversial Manifesto of the Ninety-Three which was a defence of Germany’s World War I politics and militarism.
Albert Einstein was born on this date in 1879. He was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). He is best known for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”. The latter was pivotal in establishing the quantum theory. Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realised, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the large-scale structure of the universe. He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and, being Jewish, did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He settled in the USA, becoming an American citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of “extremely powerful bombs of a new type” and recommending that the USA begin similar research. This eventually led to the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced the idea of using the newly discovered nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, with the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955. Einstein published more than three hundred scientific papers along with over one hundred and fifty non-scientific works. His great intellectual achievements and originality have made the word “Einstein” synonymous with genius.