Born in: Ulm, Württemberg, Germany
Died on: April 18, 1955
Nationality: German, Swiss, American
Albert Einstein was a German born physicist, who is known for his phenomenal contribution to theoretical physics. His best works include ‘Theory of Relativity and specifically mass-energy equivalence, ‘E = mc2’. He even received a Nobel Prize in Physics, in the year 1921. Einstein published over 300 scientific works and over 150 non-scientific works. The legendary scientist is highly revered by the physics community. In the year 1999, ‘Time magazine’ named him the ‘Person of the Century’. As for the rest of the world, the name "Einstein" is synonymous with genius.
Childhood and Early Life
Albert Einstein was born in a Jewish family in Ulm, Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. His father, Hermann Einstein was a salesman and engineer, while his mother’s name was Pauline Einstein. In 1880, his family moved to Munich, where his father founded an electrical equipment manufacturing company, Elektrotechnische Fabrik J. Einstein & Cie, along with his uncle. As a child, Einstein never observed Jewish religious practices and attended a Catholic elementary school. Although he faced speech difficulties in elementary school, he remained a top student.
At the tender age of five, Einstein was greatly influenced by a pocket compass given to him by his father. The movement of the needle had an everlasting impression on his young mind. In effect, as he grew, he started building models and mechanical devices, showing deep interest in mathematics. By the age of twelve, he had learnt Euclidean geometry and studied calculus. After his father’s business failed, Einstein’s family moved to Pavia. During this time, he wrote his first scientific work, "The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields".
Einstein did not even complete his high school and directly applied to ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zürich, Switzerland. Though he could not get through the entrance exam, he did exceptionally well in mathematics and physics. At the age of 16, he performed his first famous thought experiment, visualizing traveling alongside a beam of light. Einstein completed his secondary school from Aarau, Switzerland and fell in love with Marie, the daughter of his professor. He graduated at the age of 17 and renounced his German citizenship.
Thereafter, he enrolled in the mathematics program at ETH, while Marie moved onto Olsberg, for a teaching post. Einstein met his future wife, Mileva Mariæ in 1896. She was the only woman studying mathematics at ETH. Within a few years, both of them grew fond of each other and fell in love. In 1900, Einstein graduated with a degree in physics. After graduation, he could not find a teaching job and after two years of struggle, was employed at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property, the patent office, as an assistant examiner.
While working in the patent office, Einstein’s four papers were published in the Annalen der Physik, the leading German physics journal. These papers have come to be known as Annus Mirabilis Papers. His papers were based on photoelectric effect, Brownian movement, electrodynamics and mass-energy equivalence. At the age of 26, Einstein was awarded a PhD by the University of Zurich. In 1910, he wrote a paper on critical opalescence, thereby explaining why the sky is blue. During 1909, Einstein wrote another paper, this time explaining the photon concept.
In 1911, Einstein became an associate professor at the University of Zurich and soon, was a full professor at the Charles University of Prague. Here, Einstein published a paper about the effects of gravity on light, specifically the gravitational redshift and the gravitational deflection of light. In 1912, he accepted professorship at ETH and in 1915, published a paper on general theory of relativity. In 1917, Einstein published an article on stimulated emission as well as a paper on the cosmological constant.
In 1919, Einstein’s gravitational deflection theory was confirmed by a team led by British astronomer. This won worldwide acclaim for Einstein and he became extremely famous. With this, he got an entry of in the scientific community, which was resented by many. In 1921, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, for his contribution to Theoretical Physics and especially, for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.
However, as per his settlement with his wife, he gave the Nobel Prize money to Melvic on their divorce. Einstein wanted to generalize his theory of gravitation in order to unify and simplify the fundamental laws of physics, particularly gravitation and electromagnetism. Though he was highly appreciated for his works in theoretical physics, with time, he started becoming isolated and unsuccessful in his research.
Einstein died on April 18, 1955, due to internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an aortic aneurysm, which had previously been diagnosed and reinforced. The legendary scientist died in Princeton Hospital, at the age of 76, but worked till the very end. His remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered. Just before the cremation, Princeton Hospital pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey removed Einstein's brain for preservation, without the permission of his family. He hoped that the neuroscience of the future might someday be able to find out what made Einstein so intelligent.
Einstein married Mileva Mariæ on January 6, 1903 and had a daughter, Lieserl Einstein, born in early 1902. It is said that their relationship was more like a personal and intellectual partnership. Many people question whether she contributed to Einstein’s work, while historians believe that she did not make any major contributions. Albert and Mileva’s first son, Hans Albert Einstein was born on May 14, 1904, in Berne, Switzerland.
Their second son, Eduard was born in Munich on July 28, 1910. However, the couple got divorced in February 1919. In June 1919, Einstein married Elsa Löwenthal, who had nursed him through an illness. Elsa was maternally Albert's first cousin and paternally, his second cousin. Together, both of them raised Margot and Ilse, Elsa's daughters from her first marriage. Conversely, their union produced no children.