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Science and Philately: Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking

Author: Emil Drkusic
Date: 25/04/2021

14.03. is Pi Day (March 14h, or better 3.14). But March 14th is a very important date in science for at least two more reasons. On March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein was born and on March 14, 2018, Stephen Hawking passed away. Today we’ll listen to their words as well see stamps devoted to them.

Albert Einstein

Albert was born on March 14, 1879, to a Jewish family in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire. His mother was Pauline Koch and his father Hermann Einstein. He studied physics and mathematics at the Federal Polytechnic Academy in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1901 he became a Swiss citizen and in 1905 he was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich. Historians sometimes refer to this year as the “miracle year” (Annus Mirabilis). He died on April 14, 1955, in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Post – Theory of General Relativity stamps

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Theory of General Relativity


Denomination – 0.90 BAM

Einstein’s work

Einstein’s contribution to science is really out of the scope of this article, so I’ll mention only the most important events here:

  • 1905 - Special Theory of Relativity
  • 1915 – completed General Theory of Relativity
  • 1916 – the final form of general relativity was published
  • 1921Nobel Prize in Physics
  • 1926 – Investigations on Theory of Brownian Movement
  • 1938 – The Evolution of Physics.

Some of the most important non-scientific works were:

  • 1930 - About Zionism
  • 1933 - Why War?
  • 1934 - My Philosophy
  • 1950 - Out of My Later Years
Jersey Post – Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity stamps

Jersey – Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity


Denominations – 48p, 60p, 66 p, 76 p, 88 p, 1 £

Einstein’s quotes

Albert is a much smarter guy than me, so I’ll let him speak for himself.

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

"Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding."

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, England, on January 8, 1942, and passed away in Cambridge, England, on March 14, 2018. His work as a theoretical physicist and a cosmologist and his contribution to science is tremendous.

There are a lot of things we should mention about him, but I’ll go with the two most important ones (at least for me):

  • 1970 - by using quantum theory and general relativity he was able to show that black holes can emit radiation.
  • He “appeared” multiple times in South Park, Family Guy, and The Simpsons.
Isle of Man Post – 100 Years of General Relativity stamps

Isle of Man – 100 Years of General Relativity


Denominations - 45p, 50p, 95 p, 1.27 £, 1.69 £, 2.44 £

Hawking’s quotes

And few wise words from Stephen himself.

"Life would be tragic if it weren't funny."

"If I had to choose a superhero to be, I would pick Superman. He's everything that I'm not."

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special."

"We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet."

"I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth."

"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change."

"My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn't prevent you doing well, and don't regret the things it interferes with. Don't be disabled in spirit as well as physically."

"God may exist, but science can explain the universe without the need for a creator."

"I'm an atheist."

I’ll finish this article with one more quote from Stephen: "I was never top of the class at school, but my classmates must have seen potential in me, because my nickname was 'Einstein.'"

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