Albert Einstein was born of Jewish parents in Ulm, Germany, in 1879. He was educated at Munich, Aarau and Zurich. Disapproving of German militarism he took Swiss nationality in 1901 and the following year was appointed examiner at the Swiss Patent Office. While in this post he began publishing original papers on the theoretical aspects of problems in physics.
Influenced by quantum theory developed by Max Planck in Berlin, Einstein explained the photoelectric law that governs the production of electricity from light-sensitive metals. In 1905 Einstein published his special theory of relativity. Einstein argued that the laws of nature are the same for all observers in unaccelerated motion, and the speed of light is independent in the motion of its source. Einstein postulated that the time interval between two events was longer for an observer in whose frame of reference the events occur in different places than for the observer for whom they occur at the same place. Einstein took his PhD at Zurich and in 1909 became a lecturer in theoretical physics at the university. He also taught at Prague (1911-12) before Max Planck invited him to become director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute in Berlin in 1914. In 1915 Einstein published his general theory of relativity where he argued that the properties of space-time were to be conceived as modified locally by the presence of a body with mass. The theory of relativity revolutionized our understanding of matter, space, and time. Einstein achieved world recognition for his general theory of relativity and won the Nobel prize for physics in 1921. As a Jew, Einstein suffered a great deal of prejudice in Germany and after being involved in a memorial service for the assassinated German politician, Walther Rathenau, he was warned that he was likely to be murdered by the Freikorps. Einstein became increasingly interested in politics and he toured Europe making speeches on peace and disarmament. Now a pacifist, he...
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