Albert Einstein - The Genius

In 1869 Albert Einstein was born to a middle-class German family of Jewish ancestry. His parents were concerned that he scarcely talked until the age of three, but he was not so much a backward as a quiet child. He would build tall houses of cards and hated playing soldier. At the age of twelve he was fascinated by a geometry book.

At the age of fifteen Albert quit high school disgusted by rote learning and martinet teachers, and followed his family to Italy where they had moved their failing electrotechnical business. After half a year of wandering and loafing, he attended a congenial Swiss school. The next year he entered the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. 

After working hard in the laboratory but skipping lectures, Einstein graduated with an unexceptional record. For two grim years he could find only odd jobs, but he finally got a post as a patent examiner. He married a former classmate. 

Einstein became an assistant professor at the University of Zurich, his first full-time physics job. In 1911 he moved on to the German University of Prague. He continued to publish important physics papers, and was beginning to meet fellow scientists, for example, at the exclusive Solvay Conference. The next year he returned to the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich as Professor. 

In the year 1914, Einstein moved to Berlin, taking a research post that freed him from teaching duties. He separated from his wife and two sons. When the First World War broke out, Einstein rejected Germany's aggressive war aims, supporting the formation of a pacifist group.

After a decade of thought, with entire years spent in blind alleys, Einstein completed his general theory of relativity. Overturning ancient notions of space and time, he reached a new understanding of gravity. Meanwhile he continued to sign petitions for peace.

"The years of anxious searching in the dark, with their intense longing, their alternations of confidence and exhaustion and the final emergence into the light " only those who have experienced it can understand it."

As Germany collapsed, Einstein became more involved in politics and supported a new progressive party. The next year he remarried. And his general theory of relativity received stunning confirmation from British astronomers: as Einstein had predicted, gravity bends starlight. In the popular eye he became a symbol of science and of thought at its highest.

Einstein contributed to the struggling new quantum theory. Meanwhile, he searched for a way to unify the theories of electromagnetism and gravity. In 1929 he announced a unified field theory, but the mathematics could not be compared with experiments; his struggle toward a useful theory had only begun. Meanwhile he argued with his colleagues, challenging their belief that quantum theory can give a complete description of phenomena.

Unwilling to live in Germany under the new Nazi government in 1933, Einstein joined the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He turned away from strict pacifism, and warned world political leaders to prepare for German aggression. He also worked to rescue Jewish and other political victims of the Nazis. 

In 1939, Einstein signed a letter that informed President F. D. Roosevelt of the possibility of nuclear bombs, warning that the Germans might try to build them. The next year Einstein became an American citizen.  Einstein was asked to become the second President of the State of Israel, but declined. He was supporting many causes, such as the United Nations and world government, nuclear disarmament and civil liberties.


The search for a true unified field theory for a more profound understanding of nature continued to fill Einstein's days. While corresponding about a new anti-war project and writing a speech for Israel, he was stricken and died in 1955.