Albert Einstein


Of all the scientists to emerge from the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries there is one whose name is known by
almost all living people. While most of these do not
understand this man's work, everyone knows that its impact
on the world of science is astonishing. Yes,many have heard
of Albert Einstein's General Theory of relativity, but few
know about the intriguing life that led this scientist to
discover what some have called, "The greatest single
achievement of human thought."

Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1874.
Before his first birthday, his family had moved to Munich
where young Albert's father, Hermann Einstein, and uncle set
up a small electro-chemical business. He was fortunate to
have an excellent family with which he held a strong
relationship. Albert's mother, Pauline Einstein, had an
intense passion for music and literature, and it was she
that first introduced her son to the violin in which he
found much joy and relaxation. Also, he was very close with
his younger sister, Maja, and they could often be found in
the lakes that were scattered about the countryside near
Munich.

As a child, Einstein's sense of curiosity had already
begun to stir. A favorite toy of his was his father's
compass, and he often marveled at his uncle's explanations
of algebra. Although young Albert was intrigued by certain
mysteries of science, he was considered a slow learner. His
failure to become fluent in German until the age of nine
even led some teachers to believe he was disabled.

Einstein's post-basic education began at the Luitpold
Gymnasium when he was ten. It was here that he first
encountered the German spirit through the school's strict
disciplinary policy. His disapproval of this method of
teaching led to his reputation as a rebel. It was probably
these differences that caused Einstein to search for
knowledge at home. He began not with science, but with
religion. He avidly studied the Bible seeking truth, but
this religious fervor soon died down when he discovered the
intrigue of science and math. To him, these seemed much more
realistic than ancient stories. With this new knowledge he
disliked class even more, and was eventually expelled from
Luitpold Gymnasium being considered a disruptive influence.

Feeling that he could no longer deal with the German
mentality, Einstein moved to Switzerland where he continued
his education. At sixteen he attempted to enroll at the
Federal Institute of Technology but failed the entrance
exam. This forced him to study locally for one year until he
finally passed the school's evaluation. The Institute
allowed Einstein to meet many other students that shared his
curiosity, and It was here that his studies turned mainly to
Physics. He quickly learned that while physicists had
generally agreed on major principals in the past, there were
modern scientists who were attempting to disprove outdated
theories. Since most of Einstein's teachers ignored these
new ideas, he was again forced to explore on his own. In
1900 he graduated from the Institute and then achieved
citizenship to Switzerland.

Einstein became a clerk at the Swiss Patent Office in
1902. This job had little to do with physics, but he was
able to satiate his curiosity by figuring out how new
inventions worked. The most important part of Einstein's
occupation was that it allowed him enough time to pursue his
own line of research. As his ideas began to develop, he
published them in specialist journals. Though he was still
unknown to the scientific world, he began to attract a large
circle of friends and admirers. A group of students that he
tutored quickly transformed into a social club that shared a
love of nature, music, and of course, science. In 1903 he
married Mileva Meric, a mathematician friend.

In 1905, Einstein published five separate papers in a
journal, the Annals of Physics. The first was immediately
acknowledged, and the University of Zurich awarded Einstein
an additional degree. The other papers helped to develop
modern physics and earned him the reputation of an artist.
Many scientists have said that Einstein's work contained an
imaginative spirit that was seen in most poetry. His work at
this time dealt with molecules, and how their motion
affected temperature, but he is most well known for his
Special Theory of Relativity which tackled motion and the
speed of light. Perhaps the most important part of his
discoveries was the equation: E= mc2.

After publishing these theories Einstein was promoted
at his office. He remained at the Patents Office for another
two years, but his name was becoming too big among the
scientific community. In 1908, Einstein began teaching party
time at the University of Berne, and