Albert Einstein is now considered one of the greatest geniuses of all time, but he was quite a late developer. Einstein, who was born in the German city of Ulm on March 14, 1879, didnít learn to speak until a very late age. As a young boy he was podgy und clumsy, and rarely wanted to play with other children. Instead, he preferred to build houses of cards or make things with his fretsaw. But one persistent rumour about this great thinker is not true: Einstein was not a bad pupil! In his first year of school, he was even top of the class. His worst subject was sport. But at the age of 15 Einstein suddenly left school. The reason was not that he had become too bad, however, but because he did not like the strict rules and the authority of the teachers. When he applied to study natural science in Switzerland in 1895, he was not accepted because of the gaps in his knowledge and the fact that he had left school early. He was not able to begin studying mathematics and physics until he had gone back to do his school leaving exams. In 1900, Einstein Ė now a Swiss citizen -
became a teacher, and shortly afterwards founded the "Akademie Olympique". Here, he met with other scientists and discussed scientific and philosophical topics, which was of great importance to him.
Dr. Albert Einstein writes out an equation for the density of the Milky Way in 1931.
© AP Photos
From 1902, his career started to look up: Einstein became a technical expert at the Patent Office, completed his doctorate in physics in 1905, and published five revolutionary and pioneering works on the fundamentals of physics.* They included one of the best-
known formulas in the world: E = mc2
(energy (E) equals mass (m) times the speed of light to the power of 2). In 1914, Einstein was appointed professor in Berlin, a centre of scientific research. He continued to work on the special and general theories of relativity, which, at that time, almost no one understood. They concern space, time and light, and the relationships between them.
Einstein was now world-
famous and a real star. But in the 1920s, he met with hostility in many quarters because of his Jewish origins. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, he left his native country and settled in the USA. He broke off any contact with the German research institutes. Einstein, who was afraid that Hitler
could develop an atomic bomb, called on the American president to continue with nuclear research in the USA. When the USA dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki on August 6, 1945, Einstein was deeply shocked. Until his death on April 18, 1955, he worked intensively for the peaceful use of atomic energy and became heavily involved in the peace
* In 1921, Einstein received the Nobel Prize
in Physics for his work on the basic principles of quantum theory.