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originally posted by: surfer_soul
He was awarded the Nobel prize not for relativity which he is most famous for but for his paper on the photoelectric effect because it was decided by the Nobel committee that citing his less contested theory would gain more acceptance by the scientific community. So his genius was hardly recognised early on as you have it.
If beam of radiation has the effect that a molecule on which it is incident
absorbs or emits an amount of energy hν in the from of radiation by means
of an elementary process, then the momentum hν/c is always transferred to
the molecule, and, to be sure, in the case of absorption, in the direction of
the moving beam and in the case of emission in the opposite direction. If the
molecule is subject to the simultaneous action of beams moving in various
directions, then only one of these taken part in any single elementary process
of incident radiation; this beam alone then determined the direction of the
momentum transferred to the molecule.
If, through an emission process, the molecule suffers a radiant loss of
energy of magnitude hν without the action of an outside agency, then this
process, too, is a directed one. emission in spherical waves does not occur.
According to the present state of the theory, the molecule suffers a recoil of
magnitude hν/c in particular direction only because of the chance emission
in that direction"
The problem is that quantum theory contradicts our intuitive understanding of what “real” means. According to the theory, if two real particles A and B are prepared in a special way, what Alice sees when she observes particle A depends on how Bob concurrently observes particle B, even if the particles—as well as Alice and Bob—are separated by an arbitrary distance. This “spooky action at a distance,” as Einstein called it, contradicts either local causation or the very notion that particles A and B are “real,” in the sense of existing independently of observation. As it turns out, certain statistical properties of the observations, which have been experimentally confirmed, indicate the latter: that the particles do not exist independently of observation. And since observation ultimately consists of what is apprehended on the mental screen of perception, the implication may be that “the Universe is entirely mental,” as put by Richard Conn Henry in his 2005 Nature essay.
The problem, of course, is that the hypothesis of a universe whose very existence depends on our minds contradicts mainstream scientific intuitions. So physicists scramble to interpret quantum theory in a way that makes room for a mind-independent reality. A popular way to do this entails postulating imagined, empirically unverifiable, theoretical entities defined as observer-independent. Naturally, this goes beyond mere interpretation; it adds redundant baggage to quantum theory, in the sense that the theory needs none of this stuff to successfully predict what it predicts.
BTW as genius as Einstein was I’m fairly sure he discovered the photon as opposed to inventing it!
"I therefore take the liberty of proposing for this hypothetical new atom, which is not light but plays an essential part in every process of radiation, the name photon."
-Gilbert N. Lewis, 1926