Born in 1879 in Ulm, Germany, into a family of secular Ashkenazi Jews, which later moved to Munich where his father and uncle founded a company manufacturing direct-current-based electrical equipment. After the business failed due to the inability of his father to shift to alternate current, the family moved to Italy, leaving Albert behind to finish his studies at the Luitpold Gymnasium. He showed an excellent prowess of maths and physics from an early age and even taught himself algebra and Euclidian geometry over the summer as a teenager of 12 years of age.
Albert continued his education in Switzerland and was awarded a teacher of mathematics and physics degree from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Switzerland. As he was unable to gain employment as a teacher, he accepted a post at the Swiss Patent Office and obtained Swiss citizenship. His doctoral degree followed in 1905. He subsequently became Professor Extraordinary in Zurich and Prague.
In 1914, he was appointed Professor at the University of Berlin where he remained until 1933 when he emigrated Germany due to his Jewish ancestry and the rise of the Nazi regime, renounced German citizenship and took the position of a theoretical physics’ professor at Princeton University where he remained until his death in 1955. His main works challenging Newtonian physics, including his acclaimed theory of relativity which led to the birth of current-day quantum physics, were penned from his tenure at the Swiss Patent Office onwards.
He is seen by many as one of the fathers of modern physics and one of the greatest physicists of all time. His most important works include Special Theory of Relativity (1905), Relativity (English translation in 1920), General Theory of Relativity (1916) and The Evolution of Physics (1938). His observations also led to the development of modern-day photon theory of light, he furnished a theory on gravitation and contributed to the problems of theory of radiation and statistical mechanics.
He was renowned for constructing unified field theories since the 1920s and all throughout his tenures at various universities, including Princeton. He gained numerous awards for his work and received several honorary doctorate degrees from several universities. Throughout his life, he lectured in Europe, the US and the Far East and was awarded scholarships and fellowships of leading scientific academies throughout the world.
Did you know:
- Albert Einstein achieved an extremely high scientific prowess of both maths and physics at an early age of 12;
- That he changed his citizenship several times due to various reasons (to avoid military service, to escape the Nazi regime, etc.);
- That his first paper was written in the 1890s;
- That he was able to work through a high-level geometry textbook given to him by his family tutor so quickly that the tutor found himself unable to follow;
- That he taught himself several mathematical concepts as a child and teenager, including algebra and calculus and Euclidian geometry (at an early age of 12);
- That his first scientific paper, Conclusions from Capillary Phenomena, was published by the Annalen der Physik journal in 1900;
- That he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922 for his contributions to the development of theoretical physics;
- That he had to leave Germany in 1933 after not being able to continue his tenure as a Jewish professor;
- That he also loved music and was known for playing the violin?
Most Inspiring Albert Einstein Quotes
Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
I would teach peace rather than war. I would inculcate love rather than hate.
I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life
are based on the labours of other men, living and dead,
and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure
as I have received and am still receiving.
A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.
I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings.
It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods
of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.
A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin;
what else does a man need to be happy?
A human being is part of a whole called by us “Universe.”
The important thing is to not stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
A question that sometimes drives me hazy — am I or are the others crazy?
The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate
or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief
interest of all technical endeavours.
Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.
I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.
All that is valuable in human society depends
upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.