The Unpredictable Genius
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Einstein had said. Albert Einstein was born on March 26th, 1876 to a middle-class German Jewish family. His parents were concerned that he scarcely talked until the age of three, but he was not so much a backward as a quiet child. He would build tall houses of cards and hated playing soldier. At the age of twelve he was fascinated by a geometry book. Albert was a huge prankster in school. As a student, he liked to bring unpleasant things. One time, he tossed a spitball (which is an everyday baseball ball that had been mixed with a substance at the back of a person’s head) at a person’s head. Another time, he put a rabid skunk in his lunchbox and let it out in class. When the teacher asked him why he was dancing in front of the skunk, Einstein replied that he was trying to make the skunk scared so that it spray the stinky gas. He knew that the students would have a little surprise. At the age of fifteen Albert quit high school disgusted by rote learning and martinet teachers, and followed his family to Italy. After half a year of wandering and loafing, he attended a congenial Swiss school. The next year he entered the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. After working hard in the laboratory but skipping lectures, Einstein graduated with an unexceptional record. For two grim years he could find only odd jobs, but he finally got a post as a patent examiner. He married a former classmate. Einstein wrote four fundamental papers, all in a few months. The first paper claimed that light must sometimes behave like a stream of particles with discrete energies, "quanta." The second paper offered an experimental test for the theory of heat and proof of the existence of atoms. The third paper addressed a central puzzle for physicists of the day – the connection between electromagnetic theory and ordinary motion – and solved it using the "principle of relativity." The fourth showed that mass...
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