Albert Einstein, a German-American phycist, gave so much to this country. Einstein was born in Ulm on March 14, 1879, and spent his youth in Munich, where his family owned a small shop that manufactured electric machinery. He died in Princeton, April 18, 1955. When repeated business failure led the family to leave Germany for Milan, Italy, Einstein, who was then 15 years old, withdrew from the schools of Munich. He stayed a year with his parents in Milan, then left to finish secondary school in Arrau, Switzerland, and entered the Swiss National Polytechnic in Zürich. Again the schools here didn\'t satisfy Einstein. He often cut classes and used the time to study physics on his own or to play violin. He graduated in 1900 but his professors disliked him and wouldn\'t recommend him for a position in the University. For two years Einstein was a tutor and substitute teacher but in 1902 he secured a position as an examiner in a Swiss patent office in Bern. He married Mileva Mariç in 1903, one of his classmates at the polytechnic. They had two sons before getting a divorced. Later, Einstein remarried.
In 1905 Einstein received his doctorate from the University of Zürich for a theoretical dissertation on the dimensions of molecules, and he also published three theoretical papers important to the development of 20th-century physics. The first of these, on Brownian motion, made significant predictions about the motion of particles that are randomly distributed in a fluid, which were later proved by an experiment. The second paper, on the photoelectric effect, presented a hypothesis on the nature of light. Einstein not only proposed that under certain circumstances light can be considered as consisting of particles, but he also hypothesized that the energy carried by a photon is proportional to the frequency of the radiation. The formula for this hypothesis is stated, E being the energy of the radiation, h being a universal constant known as Planck\'s constant, and u being the frequency of the radiation, E=hu. The proposal that the energy contained within a light beam is transferred in individual units, called quanta, contradicted the hundred-year-old belief that light energy was a manifestation of continuous processes. Virtually no one accepted Einstein\'s proposal even Robert Andrews Millikan was surprised when he proved the theory correct.
Einstein\'s third major paper finished 1905, "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", contained what became known as the special theory of relativity. For so long philosophers had been trying to understand the nature of matter and radiation, and how they interacted together. Neither the mechanical world view or the electromagnetic world view was capable of providing a consistent explanation for the way radiation and matter interact when viewed by an observer at rest and an observer moving at uniform speed.
In the spring of 1905, after considering these problems for ten years, Einstein realized that the problem lay in a theory of measurement, not in a theory of matter. At the center of this special theory of relativity was the realization that all measurements of time and space depend on judgments as to whether two distant events occur simultaneously. This led him to develop a theory based on the principle of relativity, that says physical laws are the same in all inertial reference systems, and the principle of the invariance of the speed of light, which states that the speed of light in a vacuum is a universal constant. He was then able to provide a correct description of physical events in different inertial frames of reference. Again, no one understood Einstein\'s argument.
Albert Einstein believed that a good theory, is one in which a minimum number of postulates are required to account for the physical evidence. This sparseness of postulates was what made his work so difficult for colleagues to comprehend, let alone support. However, Einstein did have important supporters. His chief patron was the German physicist Max Planck. After staying at the patent office for four years he moved rapidly upward in the German-speaking academic world. His first academic appointment was in 1909 at the University of Zürich, then in 1911 he moved to the German-speaking university at Prague, and in 1912 he returned to the Swiss National Polytechnic in Zürich. Finally, he was appointed director of the Kaiser