Albert Einstein was a great physicist and mathematician and was known for his theories on relativity, and of matter and heat. Einstein was born on March 14th, 1879 in Württemberg, Germany. As a child, Einstein was mesmerized in music (he played the violin), mathematics and science. Einstein became religious at age 12, even composing several songs in praise of God and also singing religious songs on the way to school. After he read science books that opposed his religious beliefs. This challenge to established authority left a deep and lasting impression. A turning point occurred when Einstein was 16. Talmud had earlier introduced him to a children’s science series by Aaron Bernstein, the author imagined riding alongside electricity that was traveling inside a telegraph wire.
Einstein asked himself the question that would dominate his thinking for the next 10 years: What would a light beam look like if you could run alongside it? In 1894, he dropped out of school and moved to Switzerland, where he resumes his schooling and later gained admission to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich. Albert was Alone and repelled by the looming prospect of military duty when he turned 16. Einstein ran away six months later and was on the doorstep of his surprised parents. His parents realized the big problems that he faced as a school dropout with no employable skills. Einstein fell in love with his fellow student Mileva Maric, but his parents opposed the match and he lacked the money to marry. Einstein’s relationship with Maric was serious, but his parents opposed the relationship.
His mother especially objected to her Serbian background. Einstein disobeyed his parents, but in January 1902 Albert and Maric had a child. The child’s name was Lieserl, whose fate is unknown. The year 1902 was maybe the lowest point in his life. He could not marry Maric and support a family without a job. His father’s business went bankrupt. Desperate and unemployed, Einstein took lowly jobs tutoring children but was fired from those jobs. Later that year, Einstein’s father became seriously ill. However, just before he died, he gave his blessing for his son to marry Maric.
For years, Einstein would experience sadness remembering that his father had died thinking of him as a failure. When a steady income was given to him for the first time, Einstein felt confident enough to marry Maric. He did on January 6, 1903. Their children, Hans Albert and Eduard, were born in Bern in 1904 and 1910. In hindsight, Einstein’s job at the patent office was a blessing. At first Einstein’s 1905 papers were ignored by the physics community. This changed after he received the attention from one physicist, the most influential physicist of his generation, Max Planck, the founder of the quantum theory.
Even as his fame grew, Einstein’s marriage was falling apart. He was constantly on the road, speaking at international conferences, and lost in contemplation of relativity. The couple frequently argued about their children and their finances. Convinced that his marriage was doomed, Einstein began an affair with a cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, whom he later married. When he finally divorced Mileva in 1919, he agreed to give her the money he might receive if he ever won a Nobel Prize. In 1921 Einstein began the first of several world tours, visiting the United States, England, Japan, and France. Everywhere he went, the crowds numbered in the thousands. En route from Japan, he had received the Nobel Prize for Physics, but for the photoelectric effect rather than for his relativity theories.
In November 1915 Einstein finally completed the general theory of relativity, which was his masterpiece. In the summer of 1915, Einstein had given six two-hour lectures at the University of Göttingen that thoroughly explained an incomplete version of general relativity. Einstein’s work was interrupted by World War 1, he would write, “At such a time as this, one realizes what a sorry species of animal one belongs to.” After the war, two expeditions were sent to test Einstein’s prediction of the deflected starlight near the Sun. One set sailed off the coast of West Africa and the other sailed off the coast of Northern Brazil. On November 6 the results were announced in London at a joint meeting of the Royal Society and the Royal Astronomical Society.
In 1921, he won the Nobel Prize for his work on the photoelectric effect, as his work on relativity remained controversial at the time. Einstein became the target of hostility in Weimar Germany, where many citizens were suffering plummeting economic fortunes in the aftermath of defeat in the Great War. In December 1932, Einstein decided to move to the United States, where he took a position at the newly founded Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He never went back to his hometown in Germany. By the time Einstein’s wife Elsa died in 1936, he had been involved for more than a decade with his efforts to find a unified field theory.
Einstein became increasingly isolated from many of his colleagues. They were focused mainly on the quantum theory and its implications, rather than on relativity. In the late 1930s, Einstein’s theories, including his equation E=mc2, which helped form the basis of the development of the atomic bomb. Einstein became a U.S. citizen in 1940. But, his Swiss citizenship was never asked to participate in the resulting Manhattan Project. The U.S. government suspected his socialist and pacifist views. Einstein declined an offer by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s premier, to become president of Israel.
Einstein died on 18th April 1955 due to internal bleeding. He refused surgery saying: “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.” He died and given us numerous important theories and concepts to the world that are being used to this date. The strong force, a major piece of any unified field theory, was still a total mystery in Einstein’s lifetime. Nevertheless, Einstein’s work continues to win Nobel Prizes for succeeding physicists. New generations of space satellites have continued to verify the cosmology of Einstein. Also, many leading physicists are trying to finish Einstein’s ultimate dream of a “theory of everything.”
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