Annus Mirabilis papers

papers of Albert Einstein published in the Annalen der Physik scientific journal in 1905

The annus mirabilis papers (from Latin annus mīrābilis, "extraordinary year") are the papers of Albert Einstein published in the Annalen der Physik scientific journal in 1905. These four articles contributed substantially to the foundation of modern physics and changed views on space, time, mass, and energy. The annus mirabilis is often called the "miracle year" in English or Wunderjahr in German.

Einstein in 1904 or 1905, at the time he wrote the Annus Mirabilis papers

Quotes about Annus Mirabilis papers

  • In contemplating the papers Einstein wrote in 1905, I often find myself wondering which of them is the most beautiful. It is a little like asking which of Beethoven’s symphonies is the most beautiful.
  • 1905 is often described as Einstein’s annus mirabilis: a wonderful year in which he came up with three remarkable ideas. These were the Brownian motion in fluids, the photoelectric effect and the special theory of relativity. Each of these was of a basic nature and also had a wide impact on physics.
    • Jayant V. Narlikar, An Introduction to Relativity (2010)

The year 1905 has been called Einstein's Annus mirabilis because of three ground-breaking works completed over the span of a few months—the light-quantum paper, the Brownian motion paper, and the paper on the electrodynamics of moving bodies introducing the special theory of relativity. There are prima facie reasons for thinking that the origins of these papers cannot be understood in isolation from one another. ... The crucial development, we suggest, arose from comparing the energy fluctuations that follow rigorously from the Stefan–Boltzmann law, as well as from Wien's distribution formula for blackbody radiation, with what it is reasonable to expect from Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light. A special case of this is addressed in Einstein's one paper from 1904, “Zur allgemeinen molekularen Theorie der Wärme”. [Annalen der Physik, 14, 355–362 (Also in CPAE, Vol. 2, Doc. 5)]. The outcome for the general case leads naturally to the central theoretical argument of the light quantum paper, the expectation of Brownian-like motion, and several of the key results for the electrodynamics of moving bodies.

    • Robert Rynasiewicz and Jürgen Renn, (2006). "The turning point for Einstein's Annus mirabilis". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (1): 5–35. ISSN 13552198. DOI:10.1016/j.shpsb.2005.12.002. (quoted abstract)
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