Einstein



Albert Einstein

Of all the scientists to emerge from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there is one whose name is known by almost every person in the world. While most of these people do not understand his work, everyone knows that his impact on the world of science is amazing. Many people have heard of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of relativity, but not many people know of his life that led him to discover what scientists have called, “The greatest single achievement of human thought.”
Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1874. Before he was a year old his family had moved to Munich where young Albert’s father, Hermann Einstein, and uncle set up a small electro-chemical business. He was fortunate to have a family with which he held strong relationships. Albert’s mother, Pauline Einstein, had an intense passion for music and literature, she introduced her son to the violin in which he found much joy and relaxation. Also, he was very close with his younger sister, Maja, they could often be found in the lakes that were scattered about the countryside near Munich. A favorite toy of his was his father’s compass, and he often marveled at his uncle’s explanations of algebra. Although young Albert was intrigued by certain mysteries of science, he was considered a slow learner. His failure to become fluent in German until the age of nine even led some teachers to believe he was disabled.
Einstein’s elementary education began at the Luitpold Gymnasium when he was ten. Here he first encountered the “German spirit” through the school’s strict disciplinary policy. His disapproval of this method of teaching led to his reputation as a bad student and a rebel. It was probably this kind of education that caused Einstein to search for knowledge on his own. Surprisingly he did not begin looking for science, but for religion. He avidly studied the Bible seeking truth, but he stopped studying the bible when he learned more about science and math. To him, these subjects seemed much more realistic than ancient stories. Finding this knowledge on his own he began to dislike school even more, and was eventually expelled from Luitpold Gymnasium being considered a “disruptive influence.”
When he was 15 years old the family business failed and they moved to Milan, Italy. He stayed there only another year with his parents until he moved to Switzerland where he continued his education. When he was sixteen he attempted to enroll at the Federal Institute of Technology but failed the entrance exam. He took the exam again a year later and was accepted. The Institute let Einstein meet with many other students that shared his curiosity, and it was here that his studies turned mainly to Physics. He quickly learned that while physicists had generally agreed on major principals in the past, there were modern scientists who were attempting to disprove outdated theories every day. Since most of Einstein’s teachers ignored these new ideas, he was again forced to learn on his own. In 1900 he graduated from the Institute and got citizenship to Switzerland.
He became a clerk at the Swiss Patent Office in 1902. The job did not have anything to do with physics but he did get to see the new inventions of the day. The most important part of Einstein’s job was that it gave him enough time to pursue his own research. As his ideas began to develop, he published them in journals. Though he was still unknown to the scientific world, he began to attract a large circle of friends and admirers. A group of students that he tutored quickly transformed into a social club that shared a love of nature, music, and of course, science. In 1903 he married Mileva Meric, a mathematician friend. They had two sons before getting divorced. Einstein remarried later.
In 1905, Einstein published five separate papers in a journal, the Annals of Physics. The first paper was immediately acknowledged, and the University of Zurich awarded Einstein a doctorate. The other papers helped to develop modern physics and earned him the reputation of an artist. Many scientists say that Einstein’s work “contained an imaginative spirit that was seen in most poetry.” His work at this time had to do with