Your greatest critic becomes your greatest ally

Few people know, but the physicist Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the Photoelectric Effect, and not for the famous Theory of Relativity.

He had unusual help. Robert Millikan, an American physicist, was the biggest critic of Einstein’s ideas, so much so that he devised a series of detailed experiments in order to prove that the “quanta of light” did not exist.

However, after years of painstaking experiments, Millikan came to the conclusion that … Einstein was correct!

Millikan’s confirmation contributed to Einstein’s Nobel. Years later, Millikan himself won a Nobel Prize for his contributions to physics.

The great rivalries raise the level of both competitors. Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo, Airton Senna vs. Alain Proust, Kasparov vs. Karpov.

Moral of the story: have rivals like Millikan and Einstein.

Robert Millikan: “I spent 10 years of my life testing the 1905 Einstein equation, and contrary to all my expectations, I came to the unequivocal conclusion that the experiment agrees with the theory, however unreasonable it may be, since it it seems to violate everything we know about the interference of light ”.

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Originally published at on November 14, 2020.

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