Einstein's early papers represent his attempt to extend the atomic, mechanical perspective to several phenomena in physical chemistry. His first two papers, published in 1901 and 1902, deal with the nature of forces between molecules. Einstein based his calculations on the principle that these molecules obey a universal law such as gravity, though today we know that these interactions are governed by the actual size of the molecules. Although his early papers had their flaws, Einstein successfully applied the laws of statistical mechanics to atoms, thus achieving a "general molecular theory of heat." In his dissertation, he developed a statistical molecular theory of liquids and showed how the laws governing the dynamics of heat flow (thermodynamics) could be understood in terms of the motions and collisions of Newtonian atoms. Einstein's attempt to unify thermodynamics and mechanics demonstrates an overriding
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