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Einstein Albert.

posted Mar 5, 2015, 12:42 AM by Upali Salpadoru   [ updated Jul 13, 2019, 11:35 PM ]

  Mother Wondered:- 

Why should he have 

                    such a large head”, 

 Granny exclaimed :-

He’s too fat”

  The birth of Albert, the son of Pauline and                             Hermann Einstein occurred on the 14th of March in Germany.       Mr. Hermann was a rational minded electrician.

Fig.1 Man of the Century, according to the Time Magazine.

 Albert   Einstein 1879 -1955. 


    He was a bit slow to begin with, but grew up as a normal, religious child of Jewish parents. Isaac Newton wondered why an apple falls. Einstein wondered why the magnetic needle of a pocket compass turns. Anybody could ask questions but only a genius like Einstein could obtain satisfactory answers.

  He, had his early education in a Catholic School  and  later joined a secondary school in Munich. (Now; Albert Einstein Gymnasium)  He did not gain much from the school but learned advanced maths from his father and his uncle.  His mother taught him classical music. As a teenager, the boy dropped the Jewish rituals, and became a free thinker.

  In 1894, his parents moved to Italy leaving the boy. After a term, he hurriedly left school to join his parents in Italy.  His father advised his son to learn electrical engineering instead of pondering over ‘nonsense’. Referring to this, Einstein has said, “If I acceded, I could have become a lock-smith”.

Young Lover

Albert was too young, just 16, to join a University; more over he did not have a High School Certificate. He failed a Polytechnic entrance exam, He was then sent to a good school in Switzerland.   A teacher there, Prof. Jost Winteler took charge of the boy. Albert soon developed a strong friendship with the teacher’s children Paul, Marie and Anna. The relationship with Marie became special. Their parents encouraged it and the couple were to be engaged.

  At the age of 17, he entered the Zurich Polytechnic. Marcel Grossman and a pretty Hungarian student Mileva Maric were also amongst them. Mileva and Albert became North and South of a magnet.


 At first he enjoyed the lectures of Prof. Weber, but when Einstein realised that he was skipping the latest theories, he revolted. His interests clashed with the faculty syllabus. Once the professor said, “You are a clever student Einstein, yet you’d achieve nothing”.  But he was extremely popular among his friends. Meeting Michele Besso, who had similar interest was an important landmark.  Besso later married Anna Winteler. Albert’s sister Maja  married  Paul . Albert, Marie, engagement did not materialize.

Fig.2 The Highly magnetic Mileva Maric.

 He visited Mileva’s three storied Manor house in Serbia.  Her father gave him a gift, but sent his daughter to a new University. Albert’s mother Pauline proclaimed “A lame elderly Serbian woman is not the ideal for a Jewish German son”.

As a result of love letters from Albert, she returned. In spite of parental objections the two were unable to avoid each other. Albert taught her  what she had missed and copied her notes as he used to cut lectures. Albert was glad as there was a person who could grasp his ‘nonsense’.


  Mileva crashed the final and Albert managed to scrape through. The polytechnic gave employment to every graduate that passed out except Einstein. He later said, “‘Cause of Weber’s intrigue I couldn’t get employment for two years”. His father couldn’t finance him either, as his business had crashed. Adding further misery, Mileva became pregnant.  The illegitimate child of theirs, a girl, Lieserl, was delivered in 1902. Einstein promptly congratulated her. The child   may have died young. Mileva abandoned studies. Albert could not marry her at the time due to lack of finance and parental objections.

  Marcel Grossman, helped him to get employment at the Swiss Patent Office. The seven years he spent there was the golden period in his life. They formed a group called "Olympia Academy", and discussed new scientific ideas. This group was a source of inspiration and helped him to hone his radical views. 

  Einstein married Meleva Maric in January 1903.  A son was born the same year and they named him Hans.

  He made use of his free time to work on his problems of physics. Mileva’s brain was the only computer he used. The year 1905 is considered as his ‘Annus Mirabilis’, (Miracle year); he produced four crucial papers;

Miracle year achievements. 1905

Paper 1.  In March.

Light can be considered as packets of energy, ‘quanta’ (photons) traveling at the ultimate speed. This view helped him to explain the ‘Photo electric effect’, which earned him the Nobel Prize in 1921.

Paper 2. .In May.

This explained the ‘zigzag’ motion of molecules in a liquid or a gas (Brownian motion)   which was observed in 1828.  It explained the nature of heat (internal energy) that supported the Kinetic theory. This earned him the Doctor of Philosophy.

Paper 3.In June.

He enunciated the ‘Special Theory of Relativity’ which explains the changes that occur when an object approaches the speed of light. It also explained why the speed of light in a vacuum is always constant.

Paper 4.In September.

Einstein reported that if a body emits a certain amount of energy, then the mass of that body must decrease.  The famous equation, E = mc2 . …………………Energy =  Mass X speed of light2.

General Theory of Relativity

Einstein spent 10 years to develop the special theory into a ‘General theory of relativity’. Michele Besso was the  sounding board during the development process.

The equations pertaining to this theory make the following revelations;

  • ·         Light rays could get deflected by a gravitational field.
  • ·         As the light moves away from a gravitational field the wave length decreases. (Red shift)
  • ·         An accelerating mass could produce gravitational waves.

Later life

  He joined the University of Berne rejecting a promotion at the Patent office. After his second son Eduard was born in 1910, he shifted to his alma mater, ETH Zurich.

 The eminent Physicist Max Plank, pulled him to Germany in 1914. He was given a professorship at the Berlin University, without teaching responsibilities.  Mileva and the two sons joined him in Berlin but stayed only for 3 months. She could no longer tolerate  the infidelity of her husband. Albert did not have the courage to reject all the pretty and rich women that came into his life.

 In the absence of his wife and children he got immersed in theoretical work and politics.  He supported the anti-war and non-violence campaign as a pacifist. Probably due to neglect of health he became seriously ill. His first cousin Elsa Loventhal moved in to nurse him. She had two daughters by her first marriage. He rejected a joint offer from the University of Berne and ETH  and accepted the divorce from Mileva.  Failing to get a word from Elsa’s elder daughter, he married her mother who had been faithfully nursing him.

In May 1919 British Astronomer Stanley Edington using the careful measurements done during a solar eclipse, confirmed that the light rays get deflected by the gravitational field of the Earth. Next day, photographs of Einstein appeared in newspapers all over the world.  He wrote to his mother, "… Joyous news today.  …English expeditions have actually measured the deflection of star-light from the sun."

In 1920 Einstein’s mother Pauline passed away after a brief illness.. 

Jewish Science

Neils Bohr, the eminent Danish physicist who introduced the ‘Bohr Model’ of the atom paid a special visit to appreciate the work of Einstein. But, In Berlin there was strong criticism of the theory of relativity led by two Nobel Laureates, Philip Lenard and Johannes Stark. They supported the Nazi movement humiliating the theories of Einstein as ‘Jewish Science’. 

In 1921 Einstein made his first visit to USA, mainly for the purpose of raising funds for the proposed Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was showered with praise and honours. The President welcomed him at the ‘White House’   On his way back he visited London where he delivered a few lectures.

Nobel Prize for Physics

While on a Japanese tour with his wife Elsa he received the news about the Nobel Prize for Physics. As he did not attend the Noble award ceremony, German ambassador in Sweden accepted the Prize on his behalf. He made the Noble lecture on a later date.

In 1924 The Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose sent a scientific paper to Einstein which was actually turned down by a Leading science magazine. Einstein was highly impressed by the theory and translated it to German and got it published in a reputed science journal. Based on this Einstein developed the Bose-Einstein statistics and the Bose-Einstein Condensation theory.

Along with Gandhi and a few other world leaders, he signed a manifesto to terminate compulsory Military service.

In 1928 he suffered a heart attack and was bed ridden for about a year.

In 1932, when the offer came to join the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, he intended to split his time and effort between USA and Germany. As the Hitler regime was rejecting Jews, and confiscating their property Einstein had to severe all connections with Germany. He started a correspondence with the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud to emphasise the futility of war.It was named, “Why War? “. 

After living in a couple of  countries he decided to live in Princeton New Jersy. In 1936 Einstein's wife, Elsa died. In 1939 his sister Maja moved in and stayed until her death in 1951.

In 1939 Albert Einstein signed a letter addressed to President Roosevelt; a warning with regard to the intention of the Nazis to make powerful weapons. This initiated the ‘Manhattan project’ that made atomic bombs, but Einstein was completely kept out of it. It is rumoured that spies followed him day and night. After the war Einstein has admitted that it was the greatest mistake he ever made.  He said, The war is won, but the peace is not”.. In 1946 he sent a letter to the United Nations showing the importance of arms control and promoting the peaceful uses of Nuclear energy and the benefits of a “World Government”.

In 1940 Einstein became an American citizen without giving up the Swiss citizenship. He liked the freedom of Americans and the joyous life they led; yet he hated the colour bar and even became a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Einstein’s first wife. Mileva Maric died in Zurich. She left two sons; Hans an engineer and the mentally unbalanced Eduard.  She had spent major part of the Noble Prize money on the sick child.

Einstein had to be hospitalised due to an excessive enlargement of the abdominal aorta. He left all his letters and other writings to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem by the last will. Israel requested Einstein to be the President of the new Jewish nation. He wrote a very polite letter declining it.

His faith and views

Other than the mysteries of nature, his interest was social justice. Although he closely associated many communists he was a firm believer in democracy. When Robert Oppenheimer, the leading scientist of the Manhatten project, was accused of treason Einstein publicly supported him. At first he was an agnostic. Later in life he had stated, “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this for me. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition.”


When Michele Besso died, Einstein wrote, "Now he has gone a little ahead of me in departing from this curious world". Einstein died three weeks later. His remains were cremated the same day. Physicists are still struggling to complete what he could not complete; finding the ‘Unified Field theory’, connecting Electromagnetism and Gravity. Science had lost a   foremost thinker and the world had lost a fighter for peace.