Albert Einstein Biography

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm in what is now West Germany. His father was a manufacturer of electrical equipment. Business failure led his father to move Einstein’s family first to Munich and later to Milan. There were no early indications of Einstein’s intellectual capabilities; in fact, there was even some concern on the part of his parents when he was a small child that he might be somewhat backward. During his school years he showed no special aptitude because of his dislike for rigid methods of instruction, and he was cited by school officials as being disruptive. Einstein was fascinated by mathematics and science, subjects that he studied on his own. He became a high-school dropout when he left school to join his family in Milan. Einstein had his German citizenship revoked in 1896 and became a Swiss citizen in 1901. He died as a naturalized citizen of the United States on April 18, 1955, in Princeton, New Jersey.

At an early age Einstein revealed an independence of mind that was to become characteristic of his entire future life. On a visit to Milan Einstein announced to his father three final decisions: he would quit school; he would abandon the Jewish community, and he would drop his German nationality. The school did not provide him with a proper education, the Jewish community was to narrow minded, and Germany was too chauvinistic. Einstein assumed that a small nation like Switzerland would be devoid of super power ambitions and he eventually aquired Swiss citizenship

Einstein entered the Polytechnic Academy in Zurich, Switzerland, where he earned a doctorate in physics in 1905. The same year he published four research papers. Each contained a great discovery : the theory of Brownian motion; the equivalence of mass and energy; the photon theory of light; and the special theory of relativity. In the Special Theory of Relativity he extended to optical phenomena the concept of relativity, while maintaining under all circumstances the constancy of the velocity of light, from which follows that no material body can move as fast as light.

In 1915 Einstein proposed the General Theory of Relativity as an extension of the Special Theory. Its basis was the identification of gravity with inertia. His work provided the theoretical expectation that vast amounts of energy could be released from the nucleus.

In 1919 a prediction of Einstein’s General Relativity was verified, and in a few years it became the basis of new cosmologies. Einstein was awarded the Nobel prize for Physics in 1921. Although a committed pacifist Einstein began to warn against the dangers of fascism as the Nazis denounced his work as Jewish science. In 1933 he left Germany and took up residence at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, where he pursued his research toward unifying the laws of physics.

Einstein’s last years were spent searching for a unified field theory, for a universal force that would link gravitation with electromagnetic and subatomic forces, a problem on which no one to date has been entirely successful.

Einstein was filled with reverence for the works of nature, and he noted that “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.” He thought of himself more as philosopher than as scientist, and in many ways he was from the same mold as the Greek natural philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, in trying to understand the natural world through mental concepts instead of experimentation. His success did draw on the insights of predecessors and the powerful analytical tools of mathematics, but most of all it was the result of an unerring cosmic intuition, the likes of which have been equaled by very few.

Einstein Picture : Arrival in New York in 1921

Albert Einstein Sworn in as US citizen in 1940

( image courtesy The library of Congress )

Albert Einstein Quotes

“It is best, it seems to me, to separate one’s inner striving from one’s trade as far as possible. It is not good when one’s daily break is tied to God’s special blessing.” — Albert Einstein

“Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.” — Albert Einstein

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”–Albert Einstein

“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” –Albert Einstein (1879-1955

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” –A. Einstein

“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.” –Einstein, Albert

“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeeded be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” –Einstein, Albert

“It may affront the military-minded person to suggest a reqime that does not maintain any military secrets.” — Albert Einstein

“It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.” — Albert Einstein

“So long as they don’t get violent, I want to let everyone say what they wish, for I myself have always said exactly what pleased me.” — Albert Einstein

“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.” — Albert Einstein

“What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world.” –Albert Einstein

“If one studies too zealously, one easily loses his pants.” –Albert Einstein

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. — Albert Einstein

Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing. — Albert Einstein

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”
– Albert Einstein

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”
– Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, when asked to describe radio, replied:
“You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.”

God doesn’t play dice.
— Albert Einstein

God may be subtle, but He isn’t plain mean. — Albert Einstei

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” — Albert Einstein

If A equals success, then the formula is _ A = _ X + _ Y + _ Z. _ X is work. _ Y is play. _ Z is keep your mouth shut. — Albert Einstein

“If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith.”
— Albert Einstein

The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. — Albert Einstein

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” –Albert Einstein

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” –Albert Einstein

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.” –Albert Einstein

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” –Albert Einstein

“Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.” –Albert Einstein (1879-1955

“The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible.” –Albert Einstein (1879-1955

“The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.” –Albert Einstein (1879-1955)