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Great Scientists: Albert Einstein

A cache by muddypuddles Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 05/17/2010
Difficulty:
5 out of 5
Terrain:
5 out of 5

Size: Size:   not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

You will no doubt be pleased to read that this is the last of the Great Scientists. There is an unactivated “Lord of the Cachers” geocoin for the first to find.

Child Genius

No collection of Great Scientists would be complete without the quintessential absent-minded professor himself - Albert Einstein. Famous for his theories of relativity and outrageous hair, he showed the true ability of the human mind to tame the chaos of the natural world.

Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany in 1879, and was reported to have a strange head at birth – it apparently stuck out too far at the back. Other than this he was an unremarkable child, except for his speech, which developed very late, causing his family to worry that he may be retarded.

Einstein, although Jewish, was educated at the local Catholic school in Munich, where his family had moved when he was a year old. He was a mediocre student at best, and left school ultimately with no diploma, so he returned to his family, who by this time had moved to Italy.

His career aspiration was to become a teacher of maths and physics. So, to get the necessary qualifications he tried desperately to gain a place at the universtity in Zurich. He failed. Numerous other universities turned him down as well. Following the advice of a friend, he went back to school, finally leaving with his diploma at age 17. He was then accepted at the Zurich University and gained his degree in 1900.

He then tried to find work as a teacher, but was unlucky again. He ended up being helped by a friend to get a job in the patent office in Bern, Switzerland, as a technical expert, 3rd class. He was to work there for the next seven years.

Whilst at the patent office he devoted his spare time to following his true dream: theoretical physics. In 1905 he published a paper which contained the most famous scientific formula in history. It is probably also the only scientific formula that has been made the subject of a pop song. If you have never heard this song, or you just wish to give yourself a musical frontal lobotomy, you can hear it here: Einstein A Go Go

Einstein’s famous formula: E = mc2. A simple, elegant, description of how matter and energy are two faces of the same coin.

So on to the cache. If you are a geocacher who likes walking on the moors, it is important that you go prepared. It is also sensible not to carry too much, so as not to get too tired. So, should you take a warm drink, or a cold drink?

Einstein’s formula says that mass has energy, and energy has mass. If you add energy to something, it gets more massive. If the energy leaves a system, it takes its mass with it. In other words, a warm drink weighs more than a cold one. But how much?

Imagine you are going on your caching trip with a bottle containing a litre of water at 10ºC. If you stick it in the microwave until the water temperature rises to 60ºC, it will weigh a bit more than when it went in. The increase in weight is in fact a massive A.BCDEF x 10-12 kg

Using this information, the cache can be found at: N50 B(E-D).C(F-D)B W004 0A.DB(E-A)

The dark side of Einstein’s famous equation is that if the energy contained in matter is suddenly released, you get a very big bang. The bomb dropped on Nagasaki in World War II did exactly this. One gramme of plutonium in the bomb was converted into pure energy, equivalent to 21000 tons of TNT.

Einstein himself was a humanist, and opposed the hijacking of physics to commit such atrocities. In fact, he was deliberately excluded from the Manhattan Project, the secret US military project that developed the A-bomb, as he was felt to be too big a security risk.

[Use the following : water has a density of 1g/ml, the specific heat capacity of water is: 4.18 J/g/K, the speed of light is 2.99x108 m/s. Please use this calculator to do your sums: Precision Calculator . Use this calculator to find the answer in one go, to get rid of any rounding errors. This cache is attempted entirely at your own risk.]


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