Saturday, January 5, 2008

Correction about Albert Einstein

A few weeks back, talking about David Hilbert, Hermann Minkowski, tolerance and stuff, I said Albert Einstein's Nobel winning work gave us the ideas that make batteries work. A friend of mine who is more science-y than I am sent me an e-mail correcting me. (I'm more math-y than science-y.)

Regular batteries work on the Galvanic effect, burning away some metal, often nickel or cadmium, to create an electric charge, also creating stuff that ends up in landfills. Einstein's big idea was the photoelectric effect, which among its practical applications are solar batteries, like the ones that can run low energy electrical doohickeys like the solar calculator pictured above.

So Big Al's money thinking thang is actually better for the environment than the thang I said he was responsible for. My apologies to Einstein's ghost and thanks to my scientific pal Alan Ponder for helping get it right.

Photoelectric batteries can run small cameras as well. So I say unto thee: Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

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