Albert Einstein was born on the 14th of March, 1879, and died on the 17th of April, 1955. During that time he changed the way the world thinks. Few names are quite as famous as Einstein’s in the world of science and his contributions are taught in schools alongside the likes of Galileo and Hippocrates. This is quite an honor for a man only 55 years gone from this world, and makes the life of Albert Einstein of great interest.
Albert was born in Germany to a family of non-observant Jews. He was a brilliant mind from the start, and always curious about the way the world worked around him. A poor medical student was his tutor for six years during his late childhood and early teen years, and enthusiastically taught him everything he could about the many educational pursuits young Albert was interested in.
After having dropped out of secondary school after clashing with his father about becoming an electrical engineer, which he thought did not allow for enough creative thinking, Albert attempted to enter a university. Though he got great marks in math and science he failed the exam as a whole and his family paid for him to finish secondary school at another institute.
To avoid German military service in the First World War Einstein renounced his German citizenship in 1917 and moved to Switzerland to pursue a diploma in math and science. He met his future wife there, the only female student in the program out of six. A child was born to the couple out of wedlock in 1902, but her existence and future are unknown after 1903.
In 1903, Einstein married his first wife, Mileva Maric. In 1904 and 1910 they had two sons, and then separated in 1914. They divorced in 1919. Then in 1919 he married Elsa Lowenthal, a woman who was his first cousin on one side and second cousin on the other. In 1933 they emigrated to the United States, and by the end of 1936 Elsa had died of heart problems.
Having moved back to Germany after separating from his first wife Einstein was forced to flee for his life in 1933 as the Nazis took over the country. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, but his Jewish background made him undesirable to the Nazis. He was only one of fourteen Nobel laureates and 26 out of 60 theoretical physics professors in the entire country that were forced to do so. He did so with a $ 5,000 bounty on his head.
In 1939 Einstein spoke out in favor of the allies building a nuclear bomb. He said that he only did so because he felt that there was significant risk that the Germans would resort to such devices, and later expressed regret at having done so. In 1940 he became an American citizen and took a professorship at Princeton.
Einstein worked in theoretical physics during his entire academic career. Although he is best known for work on relativity that earned him the distinction of a Nobel Prize, he also worked on such fundamental parts of our scientific understanding as photons (the particles that light is made up of) and thermodynamics. His scientific achievements were, as all great achievements are, initially viewed with skepticism. But many important experts in the field supported him, and many of his theories became widely accepted with time.
Albert Einstein died on April 17th of 1955 of a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. Internal bleeding caused his death. He was offered surgery to perhaps correct the problem, but he stated that he thought prolonging life artificially was ‘tasteless’ and that it was his time to go.
By necessity, any Albert Einstein biography that is less than a hundred pages long only touches on a few of the most important events in the great man’s life. But even in brief coverage, it is easy to see how a boy who constantly asked how the world worked managed to figure out some of science’s most important principles. Perhaps we should all ask more questions. BOLA TANGKAS