Facts about the Life & Genius of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein (born –  14 March 1879; died – 18 April 1955) was the most leading theoretical physicist of the 20th Century.

Albert Einstein was a German-born genius physicist and irrefutably the greatest scientist of the 20th century. Born in Württemberg, Germany, in 1879, Einstein’s most famous gift to the human race was his special and general relativity theories.

In addition, he bagged the coveted 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics with his work in the photoelectric effect. Up to this day, he continues to receive immense admiration and reverence for his enthusiastic researches and theories in quantum mechanics, as well as other sub-areas in physics and science in general. Time magazine ranks him as the greatest person of the 20th century.

Here, we explore 44 extraordinary facts about the life and genius of Albert Einstein – deservedly one of the foremost minds the world has ever seen.

  1. Albert Einstein’s date of birth was March 14, 1879. His exact place of birth was at Ulm in the Kingdom of Württemberg, German Empire. Albert was born to Hermann Einstein and Pauline Einstein. He had one sibling – Maria, she was born in 1881.
  2. His father was an electrical engineer who also owned an electrical firm. Einstein’s father was not a very successful businessman. Hence, money was not easy to come by.
  3. As a result of slow business, Einstein’s parents moved to Milan. They had to leave Einstein in Munich to wrap up his basic education. All alone, the young Einstein spent the next six months in a school’s dormitory.
  4. Towards the latter part of the 19th century (in 1885 to be precise), Einstein renounced his German citizenship. However, 5 years later, he went from a state-less person to being a citizen of Switzerland in 1905.
  5. His passion for science and the natural world lit up when his father handed him a compass as a gift. Einstein was dazzled by how the compass needle always stayed on the north.
  6. At school, Einstein’s favorite subjects were geometry, algebra, and physics. He did not excel very well in languages and the arts.
  7. His family raised him in a very deeply Jewish home. As he grew up, the incompatibility between religious beliefs and science caused a lot of upheaval in the mind of Einstein. He did, however, sort this conflict out in his later life by stating that he did actually believe in God – a different kind of God. Einstein stated that he believed in the “old one” — the Supreme Being whose only concern was to set forth the laws of the universe. He believed that his purpose in life was to “read the mind of God” in order to unearth the laws of the universe.
  8. By age 12, Einstein was at a crossroad between religion and science. Considering the fact that he was born to Jewish parents, he was a very devout young boy who absolutely loved the idea of religion, at least up until 12. Once Einstein started to dig further deep into his science and mathematics books, he realized a lot of incongruence between religion and the laws of nature. All of a sudden, his thirst for science was born.
  9. As a student, he vehemently refused to conform to the mechanistic ways of learning. He believed that imagination was more important than knowledge. Therefore, Albert Einstein focused more on creativity and original thoughts, instead of mindless information and recycled knowledge. Often times, this behavior of his incurred the displeasure of his teachers and academic advisers.
  10. Albert Einstein’s greatest influence as a young student certainly has to be Max Talmud (also known as Max Talmey). Max was a medical student, slightly older than Einstein, who privately tutored Einstein on so many occasions.
  11. He attended the Federal Polytechnic School in Switzerland from 1896 to 1900, securing a Bachelor’s degree. Then in 1905, he completed a doctorate degree at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
  12. Einstein was fond of cutting classes or skipping them outrightly. He preferred studying on his own. As a result of this, Einstein and many of his teachers did not see eye to eye. In a particular brawl with Heinrich Friedrich Weber, his academic advisor, the professor refused to give him a recommendation. With no recommendation, Einstein struggled to secure an academic job after graduation.
  13. From 1902 to 1909, Albert Einstein worked at the Patent Office in Switzerland.
  14. In 1903, Albert Einstein and Mileva Marić, a Serbian physicist, tied the knot. At first, his parents did not approve of his relationship with Maria. This was due to her Serbian nationality. Religion was also a factor in their rejection of the relationship. Mileva was an Eastern Orthodox Christian.
  15. By 1919, Einstein’s marriage to Mileva had crumbled. As part of the divorce proceedings, it was settled that Mileva would take whatever amount of money Einstein won if and when he got the Nobel Prize. Shortly after the divorce, he got married to Elsa, his second cousin.
  16. Albert Einstein had three children: Lieserl Einstein, Hans Albert Einstein; and Eduard Tete Einstein. It is believed that Lieserl Einstein either died at an early age, or she was put up for adoption. There exist sparse records about her, even to this day.
  17. Einstein was a big fan of Scottish physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell. He extensively went over and over Maxwell’s equations in an attempt to an uncover the true nature and properties of light. After careful research, Einstein discovered that the speed of light remained the same regardless of how fast the object moves.
  18. As a budding physicist, he got a number of calls to give academic lectures at several conferences. The most famous of these conferences was the Solvay Conferences. In just under a few weeks, Einstein received several tutorships offers at many famous academic institutions in Germany and Switzerland.
  19. His first scientific article was “The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields”. Many of these first few publications came in the Journal called, Annalen de Physik.
  20. In what he would later term as his “miracle year” (annus mirabilis), he wrote four very famous and elegant papers. He was just 26 years old at the time.
  21. For large parts of his adult life, Einstein conducted extensive research works in quantum mechanics. His most famous theories were the special and general relativity theories. Einstein was regarded as one of the greatest scientist, if not the greatest, of the 20th century.
  22. Another very interesting fact about Albert Einstein is that from 1913 to 1933, he held the position of head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics, University of Berlin.
  23. The weight of his work and theories are what proved to too much for his first marriage to endure.
  24. His paper, “On the Movement of Small Particles Suspended in Stationary Liquids Required by the Molecular-Kinetic Theory of Heat” experimentally proved that atoms existed,
  25. He was the first to state that light had both wave-like and particle-like properties. This notion forms the basis of quantum mechanics.
  26. His study in photoelectric effect helped him win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Prior to that, he did have quite a lot of following in the scientific community. However, it was exactly after the Nobel Prize that Albert Einstein’s meteoric rise and acclaim among both scientific and non-scientific communities started.
  27. Many of his theories fed into the birth of the atomic bomb. As a matter of fact, Einstein once wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) about the dangers Adolf Hitler posed if he was let to first develop an atomic bomb. He even encouraged FDR to make sure that America was the first nation to develop an atomic bomb. As a result, FDR put enormous amounts of resources into the Manhattan Project, which would later produce the world’s first atomic bomb.
  28. In 1942, he was made a member of the National Academy of Sciences. And in 1999, Time Magazine named him the Time Person of the Century.
  29. The following are some of the magnificent scientific theories and ideas that shot the German-born physicist to world and intellectual acclaim: General relativity; Special relativity; E=mc2 ; E=hf; Gravitational wave; and the Cosmological constant.
  30. To billions of people across the world, Einstein is most famous for – his equation E=mc2 . This magnificent equation shows that energy and mass are two sides of the same coin.
  31. Einstein’s legacy lies in the fact that his theories of special and general relativity took Isaac Newton’s ideas a step farther. By so doing, he became the immediate successor to Sir Isaac Newton in the scientific world. Today, his name has become synonymous with the word “genius”.
  32. He once fell out with David Hilbert, a physicist, and mathematician. Einstein accused Hilbert of stealing his ideas concerning his theory of relativity. The two men later reconciled their differences and remained friends.
  33. In the company of his wife Maria, Albert Einstein honored the invitation to view the gala premier of “City Lights” in January 1931. Charlie Chaplin starred in, produced and directed the film.
  34. Albert Einstein also had several interactions with the famous philosopher and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. The two were drawn to each other because the both had a child that suffered from mental issues.
  35. All in all, he lived in over six different countries during his lifetime – Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Belgium, and the United States.
  36. Einstein’s ideas and works continue to have both theoretical and practical benefits in areas such as semiconductors, lasers, nuclear power, fiber optics, and space travel.
  37. Some of the awards that Einstein won are the Bernard Medal in 1920; the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921; the Matteuci Medal in 1921; the ForMemRS in 1921; the Copley Medal in 1925; and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1926.
  38. The number of universities and institutions that Einstein gave lectures are staggering. And some of the most famous institutions that he worked at are the University of Bern, from 1908 to 1909; the University of Zurich, from 1909 to 1911; ETH Zurich, from 1912 to 1914; and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, from 1917 to 1933.
  39. On April 18, 1955, Albert Einstein passed away at his residence in Princeton, New Jersey. The cause of Albert Einstein’s death was abdominal aortic aneurysm rapture. The brilliant physicist and philosopher was 76 at the time of his death.
  40. Up until his death in 1955, Albert Einstein was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
  41. Example of some of the major scientists that influenced the brilliant mind of Albert Einstein was: Arthur Schopenhauer; Baruch Spinoza; David Hume; Isaac Newton; James Clerk Maxwell; and Thomas Young.
  42. His work on general relativity in 1916 was his way of incorporating gravitational fields into the principle of relativity. This gave birth to his theory of gravitation.
  43. It has been estimated that Albert Einstein produced about 300 scientific articles. There was also an additional 150 papers that were not necessarily about science.
  44. In total, Albert Einstein abandoned his birth country, Germany, on two separate occasions. In the first time, he fled Germany because he was afraid of being drafted for a mandatory military duty. The second time, he opted not to return to Germany because he was concerned about the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nazism and ultra-nationalistic policies.  Just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, in 1940, Albert Einstein became a US citizen.

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