Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Day in History: Mar 14, 1879: Albert Einstein is born

On March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein is born, the son of a Jewish electrical engineer in Ulm, Germany. Einstein's theories of special and general relativity drastically altered man's view of the universe, and his work in particle and energy theory helped make possible quantum mechanics and, ultimately, the atomic bomb
After a childhood in Germany and Italy, Einstein studied physics and mathematics at the Federal Polytechnic Academy in Zurich, Switzerland. He became a Swiss citizen and in 1905 was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich while working at the Swiss patent office in Bern. That year, which historians of Einstein's career call the annus mirabilis--the "miracle year"--he published five theoretical papers that were to have a profound effect on the development of modern physics.

In the first of these, titled "On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light," Einstein theorized that light is made up of individual quanta (photons) that demonstrate particle-like properties while collectively behaving like a wave. The hypothesis, an important step in the development of quantum theory, was arrived at through Einstein's examination of the photoelectric effect, a phenomenon in which some solids emit electrically charged particles when struck by light. This work would later earn him the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.

In the second paper, he devised a new method of counting and determining the size of the atoms and molecules in a given space, and in the third he offered a mathematical explanation for the constant erratic movement of particles suspended in a fluid, known as Brownian motion. These two papers provided indisputable evidence of the existence of atoms, which at the time was still disputed by a few scientists.

Einstein's fourth groundbreaking scientific work of 1905 addressed what he termed his special theory of relativity. In special relativity, time and space are not absolute, but relative to the motion of the observer. Thus, two observers traveling at great speeds in regard to each other would not necessarily observe simultaneous events in time at the same moment, nor necessarily agree in their measurements of space. In Einstein's theory, the speed of light, which is the limiting speed of any body having mass, is constant in all frames of reference. In the fifth paper that year, an exploration of the mathematics of special relativity, Einstein announced that mass and energy were equivalent and could be calculated with an equation, E=mc2.

Although the public was not quick to embrace his revolutionary science, Einstein was welcomed into the circle of Europe's most eminent physicists and given professorships in Zýrich, Prague, and Berlin. In 1916, he published "The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity," which proposed that gravity, as well as motion, can affect the intervals of time and of space. According to Einstein, gravitation is not a force, as Isaac Newton had argued, but a curved field in the space-time continuum, created by the presence of mass. An object of very large gravitational mass, such as the sun, would therefore appear to warp space and time around it, which could be demonstrated by observing starlight as it skirted the sun on its way to earth. In 1919, astronomers studying a solar eclipse verified predictions Einstein made in the general theory of relativity, and he became an overnight celebrity. Later, other predictions of general relativity, such as a shift in the orbit of the planet Mercury and the probable existence of black holes, were confirmed by scientists.

During the next decade, Einstein made continued contributions to quantum theory and began work on a unified field theory, which he hoped would encompass quantum mechanics and his own relativity theory as a grand explanation of the workings of the universe. As a world-renowned public figure, he became increasingly political, taking up the cause of Zionism and speaking out against militarism and rearmament. In his native Germany, this made him an unpopular figure, and after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933 Einstein renounced his German citizenship and left the country.

He later settled in the United States, where he accepted a post at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He would remain there for the rest of his life, working on his unified field theory and relaxing by sailing on a local lake or playing his violin. He became an American citizen in 1940.

In 1939, despite his lifelong pacifist beliefs, he agreed to write to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on behalf of a group of scientists who were concerned with American inaction in the field of atomic-weapons research. Like the other scientists, he feared sole German possession of such a weapon. He played no role, however, in the subsequent Manhattan Project and later deplored the use of atomic bombs against Japan. After the war, he called for the establishment of a world government that would control nuclear technology and prevent future armed conflict.

In 1950, he published his unified field theory, which was quietly criticized as a failure. A unified explanation of gravitation, subatomic phenomena, and electromagnetism remains elusive today. Albert Einstein, one of the most creative minds in human history, died in Princeton in 1955.

In South Africa: Woolf Joel is killed due to his refusal to kidnap President Paul Kruger

On 14 March 1898, 34 year old Woolf Joel, Barney Barnato's nephew, was shot and killed by Baron Von Veltheim because he refused to assist in kidnapping President Paul Kruger.

It was alleged that Von Veltheim had visited Joel at the Brothers Barnato offices, and had suggested a plan to kill President Kruger. When Joel rejected his proposal, he was shot and killed. Von Veltheim was later arrested and jailed for this crime.

  • Crafford, F.S. (1943) Jan Smuts, New York: The Country Life Press
  • Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

Also on this Day: Mar 14, 1950: The FBI debuts 10 Most Wanted

On this day in 1950, the Federal Bureau of Investigation institutes the "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list in an effort to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives. The creation of the program arose out of a wire service news story in 1949 about the "toughest guys" the FBI wanted to capture. The story drew so much public attention that the "Ten Most Wanted" list was given the okay by J. Edgar Hoover the following year. As of 2011, 465 of the criminals included on the list have been apprehended or located, 153 as a result of tips from the public. The Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of the FBI asks all fifty-six field offices to submit candidates for inclusion on the list. The CID in association with the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs then proposes finalists for approval of by the FBI's Deputy Director. The criteria for selection is simple, the criminal must have a lengthy record and current pending charges that make him or her particularly dangerous. And the the FBI must believe that the publicity attendant to placement on the list will assist in the apprehension of the fugitive.
Generally, the only way to get off the list is to die or to be captured. There have only been a handful of cases where a fugitive has been removed from the list because they no longer were a particularly dangerous menace to society. Only eight women have appeared on the Ten Most Wanted list. Ruth Eisemann-Schier was the first in 1968.

The FBI also works closely with the Fox television show America's Most Wanted to further publicize the effort to capture dangerous felons.

The Ten Most Wanted Fugitives listed by the FBI in 1950 include (in FBI list appearance sequence order):
Name Sequence Number Date of Entry Time Listed
Thomas James Holden #1 March 14, 1950 One year
Thomas James Holden - U.S. prisoner, was arrested June 23, 1951 in Beaverton, Oregon, following a tip from a citizen who read the INS story in the Portland, Oregon, newspaper The Oregonian and contacted the FBI.[1] He had fled Illinois, and was charged with unlawful flight across state lines November 4, 1949; had shot to death his wife and her two brothers while drinking June 5, 1949 in Chicago; was released from Leavenworth Prison November 28, 1947; after escape, was caught with a fellow escapee by Special Agents and local police officers on a golf course at Kansas City, Missouri, July 7, 1932; was alleged to be one of the "outside" crew in a sensational armed break of other prisoners from Leavenworth in December, 1931; escaped from Leavenworth in 1930; was convicted of robbing a mail train in the late 1920s.

Morley Vernon King #2 March 15, 1950 Two years
Morley Vernon King - U.S. prisoner, was apprehended October 31, 1951 in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania restaurant, while shucking oysters; was charged with unlawful flight July 18, 1947; was charged July 12, 1947 with the murder of his wife Helen, found strangled in a steamer trunk July 9, 1947 under the back porch of a San Luis Obispo, California hotel; he had fled July 8, 1947

William Nesbit #3 March 16, 1950 Three days, after missing for four years
William Nesbit - U.S. prisoner at South Dakota State Penitentiary, was arrested March 18, 1950 in St. Paul, Minnesota by local police following the INS story in the St. Paul Dispatch after being recognized by some boys as "Ray," a man who lived in a cave near the river. Was charged with unlawful flight December 26, 1946 after disappearing from prison as a trusty driver for the warrant.September 4, 1946 while serving a life sentence, which was commuted to 20 years on February 18, 1946. Had been apprehended at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on February 26, 1937 for murder, having blown up an accomplice in a massive black powder explosion, and trying to kill another accomplice, after beating her in the head with a hammer during a fight in Minnehaha County while stealing dynamite to make nitroglycerin on December 31, 1936, following the December 22, 1936 burglary of jewelry company at Sioux City, Iowa.

Henry Randolph Mitchell #4 March 17, 1950 Eight years
Henry Randolph Mitchell- PROCESS DISMISSED July 18, 1958 after the Federal District Court at Jacksonville dropped the bank robbery charge because too much time passed; had robbed a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bank in Williston, Florida January 21, 1948 shortly after being released from Florida State Penitentiary. His criminal career dated back to 1924 and he had been previously convicted in the states of Kentucky, Georgia, New York and Florida for crimes including grand larceny, violation of narcotics laws, breaking and entering,and forgery. With the dropping of the bank robbery charge, Mitchell became the first FBI Most Wanted Fugitive to escape both arrest and the Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitive list.[2]

Omar August Pinson #5 March 18, 1950 Five months
Omar August Pinson - U.S. prisoner at Oregon State Penitentiary September 5, 1950; was arrested August 28, 1950 at Pierre, South Dakota by South Dakota Highway Patrol and an FBI National Academy graduate; had evaded capture after a shootout with police January 30, 1950, at Polson, Montana while burglarizing a hardware store under the alias of Sam Cignitti; became wanted in 1949 in eastern Washington and Idaho for burglary under the alias Joseph Anthony Dorian; charged with unlawful flight September 7, 1949; crossed state lines after he escaped May 30, 1949 from the Oregon State Prison with a cellmate; had been sentenced May 24, 1947 to life imprisonment at Oregon State Penitentiary for first degree murder; had been captured within 24 hours by the Oregon State Police and local officers at Ordnance, Oregon; had shot and fatally wounded Oregon State Police Officer Delmond Rondeauin April 15, 1947, in Hood River, Oregon after a burglary; released from the Washington State Prison in 1945; sentenced in 1944 to the Washington State Prison, Walla Walla, Washington for burglary; was released and then again sentenced in 1941 to the Missouri State Penitentiary for automobile tampering; had been sentenced January 1936 to 18 months in the Eldora, Iowa State Reformatory on a charge of armed robbery

Lee Emory Downs #6 March 20, 1950 One month
Lee Emory Downs - U.S. prisoner was returned to prison for burglary attempt of Colombian consulate in San Francisco, after his parole in 1968; was arrested April 7, 1950 with weapons, dynamite and fuses at a Daytona Beach, Florida trailer park; was charged August 3, 1948 with unlawful flight; had robbed a telephone company office in San Jose, California, June 3, 1948; an expert safecracker and skilled holdup man in three Pacific Coast states

Orba Elmer Jackson #7 March 21, 1950 Two days
Orba Elmer Jackson - U.S. prisoner sentenced to two years to run concurrently with his sentence being served, and returned to Leavenworth on September 19, 1950; was arrested March 23, 1950 at a poultry farm outside Portland, Oregon; was indicted by the Federal Grand Jury at Kansas City, Missouri on March 18, 1949 charged with unlawful escape; had been transferred to an honor farm September 3, 1947, but disappeared three weeks later; had been convicted April 8, 1936 and returned to Leavenworth; beat a man and robbed a store also serving as a United States Post Office near Poplar Bluff, Missouri; was sentenced again in 1928 for car theft to three years at the United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas; released from prison in 1928; sentenced to six years at Missouri State Penitentiary at Jefferson City, Missouri in 1924 on a charge of grand larceny of an automobile in Joplin, Missouri

Glen Roy Wright #8 March 22, 1950 Nine months
Glen Roy Wright - deceased in prison May 7, 1954. He was a U.S. prisoner arrested December 13, 1950 at Salina, Kansas; charged with unlawful flight February 8, 1949; escaped from prison September 14, 1948; was serving a life sentence in 1934 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester, Oklahoma for armed robbery; was wounded in a gun battle with police officers in Arkansas; was shot during gunbattle with police during his apprehension in Kansas; was a former associate of the Karpis-Barker Gang of the 1930s.

Henry Harland Shelton #9 March 23, 1950 Three months
Henry Harland Shelton - U.S. prisoner serving a sentence of forty-five years for kidnapping and five years concurrently for car theft; pled guilty August 21, 1950; was wounded during gunfight with Special Agents while being arrested June 23, 1950; indicted October 14, 1949; was wanted for kidnapping and car theft on September 17, 1949 in Amasa, Michigan, extending over a couple days from Michigan, to Illinois and into Wisconsin, then back to Illinois and Indiana; had escaped September 5, 1949 from the Michigan House of Correction and Branch Prison

Morris Guralnick #10 March 24, 1950 Nine months
Morris Guralnick - U.S. prisoner was arrested December 15, 1950 at a Madison, Wisconsin clothing store; was charged July 22, 1948 with unlawful flight from New York; assaulted guards and escaped July 11, 1948 from Ulster County Jail at Kingston, New York; had stabbed his former girlfriend in April 1948, and bit off the finger of an arresting officer

Willie Sutton #11 March 20, 1950 Two years
William Francis (Willie) Sutton - DECEASED November 2, 1980, in Spring Hill, Florida; early released by the New York State penal authorities December 24, 1969, from Attica State Prison; was sentenced to an additional 30 years to life in New York State Prison after Queens County Court trial; U.S. PRISONER for the final time, after he was arrested February 18, 1952 at a gas station by New York City Police while buying a car battery after he was spotted on the New York subway and followed; owed one life sentence plus 105 years before his arrest, for his escape from prison with others, dressed as guards, February 10, 1947; was transferred to the Philadelphia County Prison, Homesburg, Pennsylvania after he was sentenced to life imprisonment as a fourth time offender; he had escaped through a tunnel and was recaptured the same day by Philadelphia police April 3, 1945; was there serving a sentence of 25 to 50 years in Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the machine gun robbery of the Corn Exchange Bank; had been caught February 5, 1934, after he had held hostages and robbed the Corn Exchange Bank on January 15, 1934; was earlier foiled in attempt to rob the Corn Exchange Bank and Trust Company in Philadelphia on February 15, 1933; was loose after having escaped over a prison wall on December 11, 1932; was sentenced to 30 years in June, 1931 for assault and robbery

Stephen William Davenport #12 April 4, 1950 One month
Stephen William Davenport - U.S. prisoner arrested May 5, 1950 in Las Vegas, Nevada by local police

Henry Clay Tollett #13 April 1, 1950 One year
Henry Clay Tollett - deceased, fatally wounded June 4, 1951 by a California Highway Patrol officer during the attempt to apprehend him in a stolen car in Redding, California

Frederick J. Tenuto #14 May 24, 1950 Fourteen years
Frederick J. Tenuto - PROCESS DISMISSED March 9, 1964 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by a U.S. District judge {alleged by Joe Valachi that Tenuto was killed}

Thomas Kling #15 July 17, 1950 Two years
Thomas Kling - U.S. prisoner arrested February 20, 1952 in New York by local police

Meyer Dembin #16 September 5, 1950 One year
Meyer Dembin - U.S. prisoner surrendered November 26, 1951 to the U. S. Attorney in New York City

By the end of the year, only three of the original Ten Fugitives still remained on the FBI list.

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