Albert Einstein - a Condensed Biography

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Jonathan PaganDecember 15, 2012
Period 7 Honors EnglishMs. Chinea
Albert Einstein – a Condensed Biography

Einstein. Is there a single person in our day and age who has not heard that name? For just about everyone, the name ‘Einstein’ conjures up images of an almost supernatural genius, whose intellectual abilities far surpassed that of the rest of the population. His name has even grown to become an adjective – describing someone as an ‘Einstein’ implies that they are incredibly smart, perhaps even on genius level. What made Albert Einstein so well known? What did he do to earn his prominent place in history? How did he become the giant whose shoulders scientists to come would stand on? And what made him tick? What sparked his interest in the fields he specialized in? I hope to answer all these questions and more – continue reading, and learn about the brain, Mister Albert Einstein.

Einstein was born in 1879, in Ulm, Germany. He was the first child of Hermann and Pauline Einstein. In 1880, the Einstein family moved to Munich, where they would stay for several years. Besides his schooling, as a boy, Einstein received lessons on violin and on Judaism at home. When he was only 10, in 1889, Max Talmud (a friend of the family) introduced the little Einstein to key texts in science, math, and philosophy, including “Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason” and “Euclid’s Elements”. Remarkably, by the age of twelve, Einstein had taught himself geometry – even at this young age, he showed signs of excelling above and beyond. Einstein had originally planned to pursue a career in electrical engineering. Suffice to say, thank goodness things did not go as planned – at the age of sixteen, he (astonishingly!) failed an exam to qualify to be an electrical engineer. It was because of this that he decided to re-plan his life – and decided he would pursue a career, instead, as a teacher of mathematics and physics. This choice played an exceedingly important role in shaping Einstein into the man that has become a household name around the world – the man who would set a new standard for the term ‘genius’.

At age 16, Einstein applied directly to the Eidgenössische Polytechnic School. He lacked a certain requirement to enter into the school – so instead, he took an entrance exam. Surprisingly, he failed this exam – although it should be noted he earned exceptional marks in both the physics and mathematics portions of the test. Following this, the Einsteins sent their son, Albert, to Aarau in Switzerland so he could finish secondary school. He graduated at age 17, and, at about the same time, renounced his German citizenship (with his father’s consent) to avoid being drafted into the German army. After graduating from school, he once applied to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich, from which he would graduate in 1900 with a degree in physics. The same year he graduated – 1896 – he met his first wife, Mileva Maric. In 1901, Einstein would become a naturalized Swiss citizen. Unfortunately, he was unable to find a teaching post in Switzerland – and so instead applies to work at a Swiss Patent Office.

In January of 1902, a year before she and Einstein married, Mileva Maric would give birth to a girl – Lieserl Einstein. Very little is known about Lieserl – she was last mentioned in a letter between Mileva and Albert in 1903, and from then on her fate is unknown, though it is likely she died of scarlet fever in that same year. Einstein and Maric married in January of 1903, and in May 1904, the couple would have their first son, whom they named Hans Albert Einstein. They would have their second son, Eduard, in July of 1910. In 1914, Einstein moved to Berlin, though Maric stayed in Zurich with the sons. After having lived apart for five years, she and Einstein divorced. In that same year, Einstein married Elsa Lowenthal. Elsa Lowenthal was none other than Einstein’s own cousin. In 1933, the couple moved to the United States...
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