Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Of all the scientists to emerge from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
there is one whose name is known by almost all living people. While most of
these do not understand this man\'s work, everyone knows that its impact on
the world of science is astonishing. Yes, many have heard of Albert
Einstein\'s General Theory of relativity, but few know about the intriguing
life that led this scientist to discover what some have called, "The greatest
single achievement of human thought."

Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1874. Before his first
birthday, his family had moved to Munich where young Albert\'s father, Hermann
Einstein, and uncle set up a small electro-chemical business. He was fortunate
to have an excellent family with which he held a strong relationship. Albert\'s
mother, Pauline Einstein, had an intense passion for music and literature,
and it was she that first introduced her son to the violin in which he found
much joy and relaxation. Also, he was very close with his younger sister,
Maja, and they could often be found in the lakes that were scattered about the
countryside near Munich.

As a child, Einstein\'s sense of curiosity had already begun to stir. A
favorite toy of his was his father\'s compass, and he often marvelled at his
uncle\'s explanations of algebra. Although young Albert was intrigued by
certain mysteries of science, he was considered a slow learner. His failure
to become fluent in German until the age of nine even led some teachers to
believe he was disabled.

Einstein\'s post-basic education began at the Luitpold Gymnasium when he
was ten. It was here that he first encountered the German spirit through the
school\'s strict disciplinary policy. His disapproval of this method of
teaching led to his reputation as a rebel. It was probably these differences
that caused Einstein to search for knowledge at home. He began not with
science, but with religion. He avidly studied the Bible seeking truth, but
this religious fervor soon died down when he discovered the intrigue of science
and math. To him, these seemed much more realistic than ancient stories. With
this new knowledge he disliked class even more, and was eventually expelled
from Luitpold Gymnasium being considered a disruptive influence.

Feeling that he could no longer deal with the German mentality, Einstein
moved to Switzerland where he continued his education. At sixteen he attempted
to enroll at the Federal Institute of Technology but failed the entrance exam.
This forced him to study locally for one year until he finally passed the
school\'s evaluation. The Institute allowed Einstein to meet many other students
that shared his curiosity, and It was here that his studies turned mainly to
Physics. He quickly learned that while physicists had generally agreed on
major principals in the past, there were modern scientists who were
attempting to disprove outdated theories. Since most of Einstein\'s teachers
ignored these new ideas, he was again forced to explore on his own. In 1900
he graduated from the Institute and then achieved citizenship to Switzerland.

Einstein became a clerk at the Swiss Patent Office in 1902. This job had
little to do with physics, but he was able to satiate his curiosity by figuring
out how new inventions worked. The most important part of Einstein\'s
occupation was that it allowed him enough time to pursue his own line of
research. As his ideas began to develop, he published them in specialist
journals. Though he was still unknown to the scientific world, he began to
attract a large circle of friends and admirers. A group of students that he
tutored quickly transformed into a social club that shared a love of nature,
music, and of course, science. In 1903 he married Mileva Meric, a
mathematician friend.

In 1905, Einstein published five separate papers in a journal, the Annals
of Physics. The first was immediately acknowledged, and the University of
Zurich awarded Einstein an additional degree. The other papers helped to
develop modern physics and earned him the reputation of an artist. Many
scientists have said that Einstein\'s work contained an imaginative spirit
that was seen in most poetry. His work at this time dealt with molecules,
and how their motion affected temperature, but he is most well known for his
Special Theory of Relativity which tackled motion and the speed of light.
Perhaps the most important part of his discoveries was the equation: E= mc2.

After publishing these theories Einstein was promoted at his office. He
remained at the Patents Office for another two years, but