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American Masters: Albert Einstein

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." These are the words of wisdom by American Master Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant minds the world has ever known. Read more about the life of the iconic man of science after the jump!

Albert Einstein in 1921. Photo via Wikipedia

Speak of science and there is one name that perhaps stands out from the rest: Albert Einstein. Hailed as one of the top scientists that shaped the world as we know it, the German-born scientist was the brilliant mind behind several scientific theories. The best known of these is the theory of general relativity, for which he has been celebrated as the father of modern physics; and the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (regarded as the world’s most famous equation).

The earliest photo of Albert Einstein, at three-years-old. Photo via Wikipedia

Born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany to parents of Jewish-German ancestry, Einstein showed early interest and talent in science and mathematics. One story tells of Einstein’s father Hermann, a salesman and engineer, showing a pocket compass to the young Albert, who deduced that there must be something moving the needle despite the obvious “empty space.” Einstein eventually started making models and mechanical devices as a hobby. Even though he was reported to be slow and had speech difficulties until he was nine, the master physicist-to-be consistently obtained exceptional marks in mathematics and physics.

Fourteen-year-old Einstein in 1893. Photo via See Plus on Blogspot

Despite delays in his education due to his rebellious nature and frequent travels, Einstein was able to re-enroll and complete his high school studies after settling in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1886, after passing his Swiss Matura with outstanding marks in physics and mathematics subjets, he enrolled in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at 17, and learned about the works of classical physicists. He graduated with a teaching degree in 1900, but, unable to land a teaching job, decided to tutor high school students instead. Later, he joined the Swiss Patent Office as an assistant examiner, evaluating patent applications for electromagnetic devices. This post allowed him to explore his thought experiments and come up with his own scientific conclusions and important discoveries.

Despite the stern and serious nature of his chosen field, Einstein had an interesting side to him, as evidenced by a funny photograph snapped by Arthur Sasse just after the scientist’s 72nd birthday banquet. The photo, showing Einstein sticking his tongue out, eventually became one of the most iconic photographs in history.

Einstein playing the violin. Photo via Bluesci.org

Perhaps unknown to many, Einstein also developed a love for music at an early age, learning and playing the violin at five, but only enjoyed it when he turned thirteen. Upon discovering the violin sonatas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, he fell in love with the classical composer’s music and began learning and playing more willingly.

Einstein moved to the United States in 1933 due to the rising power and influence of the Nazis led by Adolf Hitler, the new chancellor of Germany. He settled in Princeton, New Jersey and taught at the Princeton University. It was during this time that the master scientist continued to work on his theory of relativity and developed other new theories that helped the world gain a better understanding of many other physical phenomenon.

Today, April 18th, also marks the 56th death anniversary of the influential physicist, so you may also find it interesting to take a look and read about Albert Einstein’s last photo taken a month before he passed away.

All information for this article were taken from Albert Einstein on Wikipedia, Stanford.edu and Albert Einstein on American Masters.

written by plasticpopsicle

3 comments

  1. 12_12

    12_12

    Nice article but why "American Master"?

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. plasticpopsicle

    plasticpopsicle

    @12_12 Because. as mentioned in the article, he moved the the United States in 1933 and obtained US Citizenship in 1940. :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. bsdunek

    bsdunek

    Wonderful! We generally see Einstein only as an adult or old man. His childhood was very interesting.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam