Einstein qualified and became a Swiss citizen but couldn’t find a teaching job so began work as an assistant in the Swiss Patent Office in 1901, where he was passed over for promotion because he had not got to grips with “machine technology”.
However, much of his work was linked to the synchronising of time by mechanical and electrical means, which sowed the seeds that would later transform the understanding of the universe.
His first theoretical paper – on the capillary forces of a straw – was published in a respected journal that same year and by 1905 he was awarded his doctorate by the University of Zurich.
The scientist’s work began to pour out of him – by the end of that year, he published no less than four revolutionary papers on matter and energy; the photoelectric effect; Brownian motion; and the idea that perhaps defined him most of all – special relativity.
Despite the acclaim that he began to accrue, he continued working at the patent office until 1909.
Two years later his work on relativity made him world famous when he concluded that the trajectory of light arriving on Earth from a star would be bent by the gravity of the Sun.
His conclusions ripped up the ideas of Newtonian mechanics which had stood since the 17th century.
They are modest, intelligent, considerate and have a feel for art. [Einstein on the Japanese]
He returned to Germany where he held several prestigious positions, including president of the German Physical Society.
By 1921, his groundbreaking theories had transformed the basics of modern physics and he was awarded the Nobel Prize.
However, it was not given for his most famous work, that of relativity, because it remained too controversial.
Instead, the judges used his explanation of the photoelectric effect to explain the award.
The famous scientist began to lecture worldwide and travelled to Singapore, Sri Lanka, Palestine and Japan, where he spoke before the emperor and declared: “Of all the people I have met, I like the Japanese most, as they are modest, intelligent, considerate and have a feel for art.”
Wherever he went by this stage he was greeted like a head of state or a rock star, with crowds thronging to hear him and cannons fired to salute his arrival.
The rise of Hitler and Nazism persuaded him to move to the US, where he later shed his avowal of pacifism and wrote to President Roosevelt urging him to press ahead with construction of a nuclear bomb to ensure the Germans did not get there first.
There was always with him a wonderful purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn. [Robert Oppenheimer on Einstein]
He later said this letter was his life’s biggest regret because nuclear weapons had such a fierce capacity for destruction.
He began work at Princeton University and became a US citizen in 1940 (his third passport) where he was a strident critic of racism, calling it America’s “worst disease”.
Albert Einstein died of internal bleeding on April 17, 1955, aged 76, which was marked with headlines around the world.
But his story did not end there - his brain was removed by the pathologist to try to understand what made him so intelligent.
At his memorial, Robert Oppenheimer, the developer of the atomic bomb which Einstein had backed, said: “He was almost wholly without sophistication and wholly without worldliness.
“There was always with him a wonderful purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn.”
Dr. Charles Parry
MATH 4044 History of Math
20 November 2008
Albert Einstein is undoubtedly one of the greatest minds of our time.His contributions to physics and mathematics are extensive.He was one of science’s first celebrities.Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 at Ulm, in Wurttemberg, Germany (Nobel).His parents, Hermann and Pauline Einstein, were Jewish middle-class Germans, and his uncle was an engineer (Formative).Six weeks after his birth, his family moved to Munich (Nobel).
Einstein began his schooling in Munich at the Luitpold Gymnasium (Nobel).He generally received good grades and was outstanding in mathematics, but he hated the academic high school that he attended in Munich, “where success depended on memorization and obedience to arbitrary authority” (Formative).His studying was mainly done at home with mathematics, physics, and philosophy books (Formative).In 1894, when Einstein was 15, his parents moved to Italy, and six months later, he left the Munich without finishing his schooling to join his family in Pavia, Italy (Grosz).In 1895, he took the entrance exam for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and failed (Formative).He renounced his German citizenship in 1896 (Grosz).He continued his education at Aarau, Switzerland and he entered the Swiss Federal Technical School in Zurich in 1896 to be trained as a mathematics and physics teacher (Nobel).Around this time, he realized that physics was his true subject (Formative).A romance arose at the Zurich Polytechnic between Einstein and Mileva Maric, the only woman in his physics class (Formative).Einstein’s family opposed any talk of marriage, even when Mileva gave birth to a daughter, who was probably given up for adoption (Formative).
He gained his diploma and acquired Swiss citizenship in 1901, but was unable to find a post teaching, so he accepted a position as a technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office (Nobel).Einstein and Mileva Maric finally married in 1903, and in 1904, a son, Son Hans Albert, was born (Grosz).The job at the Patent Office gave Einstein a regular salary and more free time, and he devoted his thought to the most basic physics problems of his time and began to publish scientific papers (Formative).One of those papers included the now famous equation E=mc2, which he used to describe the mass and energy relationship (“Albert”).He obtained a doctor’s degree from Zurich University in 1905 (Grosz).In 1908, he was appointed lecturer at Bern University, and in 1909, he resigned from the Patent Office and was appointed Associate Professor of theoretical physics at Zurich University (Grosz).He and Mileva had a second son, Eduard, in 1910 (Grosz).Next, the family moved to Prague, where he became a professor at the German University in 1911 (“Albert”).By this time, Einstein was becoming a star in the field of physics.
In 1912, Einstein went back to Zurich to become a professor of theoretical physics at his alma mater, the Federal Institute of Technology (“Albert”).In 1914, he was appointed as a Professor at the University of Berlin, without teaching obligations, and was appointed as a member of the prestigious Prussian Academy of Sciences (Grosz).Einstein was known for his dalliances with other women, and his marriage began to fall apart (“Albert”).In 1914, he separated from his wife, and she returned to Zurich with their two sons, and in 1919, they were divorced (Grosz).Einstein began work on the general theory of relativity and published it in 1916 (Grosz).In 1917, he suffered from severe illness because of a liver ailment, a stomach ulcer, and jaundice, and his cousin Elsa Loewenthal took care of him (Grosz).Einstein fell for Elsa, writing her letters declaring his love for her, and the two were married in the same year that he divorced his first wife, 1919 (“Albert”).Einstein settled down with Elsa and her two grown daughters by a previous marriage (Formative).Einstein became a scientific star, with people crowding into auditoriums to hear him talk about his theories (“Albert”).In 1921, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics (“Albert”).He began to travel and become an internationally recognized figure.He visited the U.S. for the first time in 1921 and lectured on the theory of relativity at Princeton University (Grosz).He also visited Paris, Japan, Palestine, Spain, Sweden, South America, and other places around the world (Grosz).He worked with and intensely debated Niels Bohr on quantum mechanics (Grosz).
In 1928, he suffered a temporary physical collapse and was diagnosed with an enlargement of the heart (Grosz).In 1930, Einstein’s son Eduard suffered a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent most of his life in mental health facilities (“Albert”).In 1933, he declared that he would not return to Germany (Grosz).He often spoke everywhere he went about the rise of the Nazi party in Germany and the country’s anti-Jewish policies, and he vocally supported the creation of a Jewish homeland (“Albert”).After Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, Einstein was seen as an enemy of the state, which happened to many other Jewish intellectuals and professionals at the time, and his homes were raided and his property was seized (“Albert”).Soon after, he and his wife traveled to the United States to live and he went to work at Princeton University in New Jersey (“Albert”).Three years later, in 1936, his wife Elsa died after an illness (“Albert”).
During World War II, Einstein tried to help as many Jewish refugees as he could, and encouraged the United States to take action against Nazi Germany (“Albert”).“In 1939, he wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, warning him that German scientist had been working on an incredibly powerful weapon based on his own formula, E=mc2” (“Albert”).He recommended to the President Roosevelt that the United States research nuclear weapons (Grosz).Einstein was given U.S. citizenship in 1940 (Grosz).He worked as a consultant with the Research and Development Division of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance, section Ammunition and Explosives and a copy of his 1905 paper on special relativity was auctioned for six million dollars as a contribution to the American war effort (Grosz).
Einstein was shattered by the Holocaust and was then shocked by the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Grosz).After the war ended, he expressed public support for the formation of a world government and began intense activity on behalf of disarmament (Grosz).He supported creation of the State of Israel (Grosz).He was asked to become the president of Israel in 1952, but he turned it down (“Albert”).He retired in 1945 and spent much of his time giving lectures and speeches (“Albert”).His health began to decline.Einstein died on April 18, 1955 at the age of 76 at the Princeton Hospital of an aortic aneurysm (Grosz).His body was cremated and the ashes were scattered at an undisclosed location (Grosz).In 2000, Albert Einstein was named Person of the Century by Time Magazine (“Albert”).
Einstein’s more important works include Special Theory of Relativity, Relativity, General Theory of Relativity, Investigations on Theory of Brownian Movement, The Evolution of Physics, About Zionism, Why War?, My Philosophy, and Out of My Later Years (Nobel).He received many honorary doctorate degrees in science, medicine, and philosophy from many European and American universities, and he was awarded Fellowships or Memberships of all the leading scientific academies around the world (Nobel).
Einstein’s main intellectual focus was physics.He “always appeared to have a clear view of the problems of physics and the determination to solve them” (Nobel).He had a strategy of his own, and was able to reach his goal and visualize all of the main stages to accomplish this goal (Nobel).He regarded all of his major achievements as stepping-stones to the next advance (Nobel).Einstein gave an analysis so clear and revealing of the theory of relativity that it can be understood by students in beginning science classes (“The Great Works”).
Einstein studied the mathematical theories and techniques that he found necessary for his work in physics (Formative).One of Einstein’s best friends, Marcel Grossman, became a professor of mathematics at the Swiss Federal Institute, and aided Einstein in his study of mathematics (Formative).Einstein used equations to study and explain a wide variety of phenomenon.Einstein represented and explained his ideas about relativity and physics relationships in mathematical terms.He expressed the relationship between mass and energy with the equation E = mc2 (“The Great Works”).Einstein found that “if a body emits a certain amount of energy, then the mass of that body must decrease by a proportionate amount” (“The Great Works”).“Einstein had to master more elaborate mathematical techniques than he had ever expected to need, and to work at a higher level of abstraction than ever before” (“The Great Works”).Einstein sealed his success in his theoretical work in 1915 with new equations of gravitation, which had a logical simplicity, despite their unfamiliar mathematical form (“The Great Works”).Einstein’s work was not too mathematically complex.Therefore, today, his theories are simple for most students to understand.Einstein went to school to study math and he originally planned on being a math teacher.His greatest contribution to both math and science was his discovery of the E = mc2 relationship.
Albert Einstein’s discoveries and theories have made such an impact on our world.Mathematics was essential to his work.He was a great mathematician, scientist, and humanitarian.History would have been completely different if not for him.Today, his name is known worldwide.When the term genius is spoken, a picture of Albert Einstein comes to mind for most people.He received a multitude of awards and honors that are a testament to his great work.