Einstein, Albert

German physicist

Born: Ulm, Germany, March 14, 1879

Died: Princeton, New Jersey, April 18, 1955
"Politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity" - Albert Einstein


Albert Einstein, although Jewish, was educated at a Catholic grammar school in Munich, Bavaria. Like Newton, with whom he is often compared, he showed no particular intellectual promise at a young age and was even thought to be retarded, by some of his teachers.

After moving to Switzerland, he was unsuccessful in obtaining a teachers post and accepted a position as a junior official in the Patent Office of Berne, Switzerland. In 1905 he published scientific papers on the photoelectric effect and Brownian motion, basing much of his work upon the somewhat disregarded quantum theory of Planck.

These papers created a new outlook on the universe, replacing the Newtonian view which had reigned supreme for over two centuries. His General Theory of Relativity, published in 1915, proceeded from the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a vaccuum and showed that all motion is relative. Einstein worked out the relationship between mass and energy, creating the famous equation: E = mc˛, where E is energy, m mass and c the velocity of light.

The Relativity Theory revolutionized astronomy, showing how light is bent by gravity and making the calculation of orbits more accurate than before.

These discoveries also led directly to the development of the nuclear bomb. Einstein visited America in 1930 and remained there, becoming an American citizen in 1940. Einstein assisted America to develop the bomb, and later fought stubbornly for a world agreement to end the threat of nuclear warfare.

The element which has the atomic number of 99, was named einsteinium in his honor, shortly after his death.

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