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Introduction to Albert Einstein
Introducing to the World - Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein. A name synonymous with genius. A man whose picture is next to intelligent in the dictionary. One of the most famous people of the 20th century. A man who had a brain so unlike the rest of the world’s and yet so much like our own. A man who had integrity enough to give up so much, but who had so many faults. A man so admired and revered and yet helped bring the worst evil we have yet to build. A man unlike anyone else, yet so much like each of us. Let me introduce to you Albert Einstein.
The Early Years
On March 14, 1879 in Wurttemburg, Germany Albert Einstein arrived on the scene. His parents had no idea the impact that this child they began to believe as mentally retarded for the first 10 years of his life or so would have on the world and science.
If you asked Einstein where he was from, he would more likely have stated Munich since his family moved there when he was just 6 weeks old. Born in a country that for decades would be a hot spot for war and human atrocities which were not thought of at this time, Einstein would be a player in much of it.
His parents were very worried about the development of this child since it wasn’t until around the age of 9 that he began to speak properly and without difficulties. So many times parents think that these first few years are the window to their child’s future. While that can be true in many cases, it can also be a way to prepare them for absolute amazing feats. Do not think that the child’s initial development progress is a sure sign of what he will have in the future. Einstein later became fluent in English and German though he was a horrible speller in English – there is hope for all of us spelling challenged people out there. There is even hope if you think that geniuses have to be good at everything. Einstein learned to play the violin. Note that he learned to play it and not do it well. It was a comfort for him when he was troubled but people didn’t flock to hear a musical prodigy. He even disliked science fiction which you would think a science minded guy would really get into. It was not his dish of sauerkraut. But at a very early age though his speech and spelling capabilities were not going to be his ticket to fame and fortune, the passion of science began with a simple compass. He father showed him a compass and the curiosity and “magic” of it captivated the young boy and was the starting point into a world that would change the entire 20th century.
He attended school in Switzerland after his family moved to Italy. It was in 1896 that he attended a school for training as a teacher in math and physics. By 1901 he graduated and obtained Swiss citizenship. He didn’t get his dream teaching job that so many graduates long for. He fell into the same problem that many graduates do today. Instead he took a job in a Swiss Patent Office as a technical assistant. Not what we would call a good starting point for a genius. But actually this move was one of the best. He learned so much about patents, laws, and what was out there. The foundations of a great mind were still being laid in an unlikely place. His failure at his first university entrance exam is another aspect of his life many of us can relate to. The genius to take the world by storm had trouble getting into college. (He was accepted about a year later. So there is always hope.)
During this time he had an illegitimate daughter with Mileva Maric. Not much is known about this child. It seems that she either was born with disabilities, given up for adoption, or even died at an early age. Information is vague and very few letters reference her. In 1903 he married Mileva and had 2 sons by her over the next few years. One of his sons, Eduard, was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Einstein also became known as not having a very good memory. He was constantly forgetting things: umbrellas, to change his clothes, dates including birthdays, and phone numbers. He had so much more on his mind like relativity and atoms. The women in his life learned that you just went behind him filling in the gaps and picking up the discarded items. It gives us all hope to see a genius have such a bad memory.
In 1905 he obtained his Doctorate and began his renown academic climb. Just nine years later he became the Director of Kaiser Wilhem Physical Institute and Professor at the University of Berlin. That same year he became an official citizen of Germany. Five years later he divorced Mileva.
Looking at pictures of Einstein as we know him does not exactly make a young woman’s heart flutter. But there must have been something to that man. He was known for affair after affair. His extra-curricular activities were too much for his wife and just enough for the local gossips. In 1919 upon his divorce, he quickly married his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal. They did not have any children together and were together until her death in 1936.
In 1921 Einstein won the Noble Prize for Physics. He was making his mark beyond Germany now. In a span of 12 years a lot can happen though. During those years Germany changed. The bitter ending of the Great War was still fresh and there was resentment brewing in the hearts of many Germans. This opened the door for Hitler to step and make the “desired” changed that the Germans were seeking for. But the country got more than they bargained for. Many including Einstein were labeled “enemies of the state” and had their homes and other property routinely searched and at times seized. Not falling in with the “majority” could have deadly side effects. Einstein’s reaction was to continue to speak out against Hitler and the atrocities he was beginning to make a part of everyday life. This led him to renounce his citizenship in 1933 and move to America as the Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton University.
America received him with open arms and by 1939 Einstein was conversing with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and warning him that Germany was in the process of using Einstein’s own work to develop the atomic bomb, a device that would be akin to the destruction of all mankind. Though a peace loving man, he began to encourage Roosevelt to develop his own or prepare to say “Heil, Hitler” everyday. Thus began the Manhattan Project. He became a U.S. citizen in 1940 and in 1945 resigned his position at Princeton.
A Life to Impact Many
Most don’t realize that Einstein was very big in getting Israel a home of their own. In fact he was offered the Presidency of Israel. He could have become Israel’s first leader in centuries. Instead he decided to focus on education instead of politics and co-founded the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
On April 18, 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey, Albert Einstein said goodbye to a world that loved him, cursed him, and envied him. He became the Time magazine Person of the Century. His parents would have been shocked at all he had done. The child thought to be retarded led the world in science. The man who had trouble with family life, gave hope to many Jewish families. The man who longed for peace brought radiation and death the thousands. The man who could have had the world at his finger tips, preferred the lab and the classroom. A man we can all relate to and who can give of us hope.