Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is widely regarded as one of the greatest scientists that has ever lived. His name has become synonymous with genius and great intelligence, and his discoveries revolutionized the field of physics, forever changing the way that we view the universe that we are all a part of. While he became an important figure in American history later in life, his roots make him a prized treasure of Germany as one of the many great scientists whose genius originated there. Germany is known for its famous scientists in the 20th century that also included Wernher von Braun, Werner Heisenberg, and Robert Oppenheimer.

Early Years

Einstein aged 14.

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in the city of Ulm, Germany to Jewish parents Hermann and Pauline Einstein. His father was a salesman and engineer who co-founded Elektrotechnische Fabrik J. Einstein & Cie, a company that produced electrical equipment.

His father once gave him a compass, and he became fascinated with how it knew which direction to point. These mysteries excited him greatly, and he wanted to immerse himself in the study of them. Einstein described this desire best, saying “I want to know God's thoughts…”. In the early years of his life, many doubted him, thinking him to be lazy or incompetent. Though he received excellent grades in school, he felt oppressed and under challenged by the school system that could not give him the answers to the complex questions he would ponder.

He then attended the Polytechnic Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. After graduating in 1900, he worked odd jobs until finally landing a position as a patent clerk. He then married Mileva Maric, his college sweetheart and would go on to have two sons with her, Albert and Eduard. For six years he worked six days a week scouring mounds of paperwork to award patents to new ideas and inventions.

Einstein's Work

While busy with his personal and professional life, Einstein managed to obtain a doctorate degree from the University of Zurich and dedicated a great amount of his free time to thinking and though this he made many amazing discoveries.

In 1905, in what some have called his “miracle year”, Einstein wrote a series scientific papers that would revolutionize science as we know it.

In one paper, he expanded on the work of the great Isaac Newton and theorized that light existed as particles that traveled in waves. This discovery would earn him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.

In another, he solved the mystery of why pollen never stopped moving in a glass of water by discovering the cause to be water molecules. This would further reinforce the existence of molecules, the basis for modern science.

Finally, Einstein proposed his “Special Theory of Relativity” which can be summed up in the equation E = MC^2. Without going too far into detail, this principle allows space and time to be viewed in different ways for different observers.

Worldwide Recognition

Due to his age and status, scholarly recognition did not come immediately. Four years after his works were published, he was offered a professorship at the University of Zurich where he taught with a style he desperately wanted as a child. He was very personal and passionate about the knowledge he gave his students.

After entering several more prestigeous offers and working in colleges all across Europe, he finally settled in his home country at the University of Berlin. He worked tirelessly for long hours on perfecting his theories. At the cusp of his efforts, he put forth one the greatest discoveries in the history of science, his “General Theory of Relativity” that took gravity, acceleration, and time and space all into account.

To prove this theory to be correct, he would have to show that stars could bend light. In 1919, two British astronomers confirmed Einsteins theory by showing that the Sun's light was bent during a solar eclipse. In the midst of the anguish that surrounded the First World War, Einstein became famous overnight when the news of this discovery was spread throughout the world.

Later Years

When World War Two broke out and Hitler took power, Einstein, though a pacifist, realized that the Nazis must stopped and left for America.

When he had gotten word that Germany was working on the development of a nuclear weapon, he wrote a letter to president Roosevelt advising him of the consequences of a such a weapon, and through this the Manhattan project was born. Einstein himself did not work on the project.

Einstein died on April 18, 1955 at the age of 76 after a long life that he spent dedicated to his work.


Physik - Physics

Staatsfeind - Enemy of the State

Licht - Light

Atombombe - Atom Bomb

Works Cited

Grosz, Roni. “Albert Einstein Archives.” Albert Einstein Archives. 10 Nov 2005. 10 Oct. 2005 <>.

Simon, Orly. Einstein Archives Online. 2003. 9 Oct. 2005 <>.

“Albert Einstein - Biography.” 14 May 2005. 10 Oct. 2005 <>.

The Space-Time Manifold of Relativity: E. B. Wilson and G. N. Lewis, Proc. Amer. Soc. Arts & Science, vol. xlviii., No. 11, 1912.

Hornberger, Charlie. Einstein Papers Project. 10 Oct. 2005 <>.

“Einstein in the 21st Century.” World Year of Physics 2005. 10 Oct. 2005 <>.

ger/101/2013/fall/albert_einstein.txt · Last modified: 2013/10/30 02:18 by erzuidema
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