Throughout the years, Einstein has been regarded as perhaps one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. Everyone knows his theory of relativity, E=mc2. Not everyone knows what it means, but everyone knows it nonetheless. Everyone can also instantly recognize Einstein, who never wore clothes that were as dignified as he was. He was a kind man, a pacifist. He always opted for the peaceful way out. There have been many technological advances since the days of Einstein. And despite some skepticism, the theories he developed 85 years ago are still the most accurate that we have.
Einstein comes from humble beginnings, born to a not-so-well-to-do family in Ulm, Germany. He came into this world on March 14, 1879, born to Hermann and Pauline Einstein. Early in life, he showed a great interest in mathematics and the sciences. When he was about eight years old, his father gave him a compass. Einstein wondered why it always pointed north. Einstein lay awake that night in bed wondering how an invisible force could pass through space (Strathern 13). His uncle gave him his first mathematics book and Einstein read it until he could do every problem in the book.
In school, Einstein wasn’t exactly a teacher’s pet. The teachers at German school during his childhood ‘prided themselves on behaving like bossy, pedantic sergeant majors’; (Strathern 13). Teachers told him he would never amount to anything. Einstein more than proved them wrong. The first years on his own were the roughest for Einstein. He was unable to keep a job and wasn’t credited enough for anyone to believe his theorems, yet. He married Mileva Maric in 1902 and they had their first son, Hans Albert, was born (Magill 1035).
Things came together for Einstein in 1905. While working as a patent clerk, he wrote five groundbreaking articles that were published in a major scientific newsletter of the time. The first paper, titled, ‘On A Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light,’; would earn him a Nobel Prize for physics in 1922. His second paper was titled, ‘A Determination on the Sized of Molecules. ‘; His third, ‘On the Motion of Small Particles Suspended in a Stationary Liquid, according to the Molecular Kinetic Theory of Heat. ; His fourth paper was an important one. ‘On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies’; was his first paper on relativity. In this paper was his special theory of relativity and the fourth dimension (time). In his last paper of 1905 he stated the ever-famous formula, E=mc2, saying that mass and energy are equivalent. These papers made him known throughout the scientific world. He was offered honorary doctorate degrees from many colleges, some of which would not even let him into their college when Einstein had applied. He taught at many different schools.
He did not like it because between teaching, grading papers, and helping students (which he loved to do) he did not have the time to work on his ideas. In 1914, he took a job at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin. He was now at the top of his profession. And most important of all, he now had the time to work on more revolutionary papers. Einstein completed his general theory of relativity in 1915, after nearly ten years of work. In 1919, British astrophysicist, Arthur Eddington, photographed a solar eclipse.
It revealed the light emitted from the stars was being bent as it passed close to the sun (Strathern 81). This confirmed Einstein’s general theory of relativity, and he was catapulted to stardom overnight. Soon Einstein became a household name. In 1919, he divorced Mileva and married his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal. Einstein won many awards afterwards, and for the rest of his life. Some of which included the English Royal Society’s Copley Medal, the Royal Astronomical Society’s Gold Medal, the first German Max Planck Medal, and the Nobel Prize for physics (Swisher 62).
Around this time, Hitler and Germany were becoming a world power. In 1932, Einstein and Elsa fled Germany never to return again. In 1940, eight years after fleeing Germany, Elsa and Einstein became citizens of the United States of America. Einstein became a friend and colleague of President Roosevelt. He wrote a letter to the president warning him of the potential use of his theories in military warfare. Soon, President Truman took over the war effort. Einstein, however, played no part in developing the atomic bomb which merely proved his theory of relativity (Magill 1036).
As a matter of fact, Einstein was just as shocked as the rest of the country when ‘Little Boy’; was dropped on Hiroshima and ‘Fat Boy’; was dropped on Nagasaki (Kevles). He was a sworn pacifist, and he tried to settle disputes the peaceful way. After the war, Einstein received a lot of bad press for ‘creating this weapon. ‘; As Einstein grew older, he tried to stay out of the spotlight. But this did now deviate his popularity. For his 70th birthday, he received what not too many people get for their birthday: an element.
For his 70th birthday, the element Einsteinium was named after him (Swisher 101). In 1952, he was invited to be the president of the newly formed country of Israel, a Jewish state established in 1948 (Swisher 101). After his wife, Elsa, died in 1936, Einstein’s longtime secretary and housekeeper, Helen Dukas, took care of him. For the last year of his life, Einstein spent much time in bed working on his theorems. On April 13, 1955, he was struck with severe stomach pains. He died five days later on April 18. Before he died, he told Helen Dukas there was to be no funeral, no grave, and no monument.
He wanted his brain to be used for research, his body cremated, and the ashes scattered in an undisclosed place. Many people have tried to prove his theories incorrect; all have been unsuccessful. They have only improved on something he did eighty-five years ago. He has had more influence on modern science than any person in history. For example, in 1977, two people did a study on the influence that Einstein had. They found 105 articles that had the word ‘Einstein’; in the title. They also found 452 cited Einstein within the article (Swisher 113).