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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.
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 marveled at his uncle's explanations of algebra. Although 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.
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had generally agreed on major principals in the past, there were modern scientists who were attempting to disprove outdated theories.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= mc squared.
In 1908, Einstein began teaching part time at the University of Berne, and the following year, at the age of thirty, he became employed full time by Zurich University. Einstein was now able to move to Prague with his wife and two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard. Finally, after being promoted to a professor, Einstein and his family were able to enjoy a good standard of living, but the job's main advantage was that it allowed Einstein to access an enormous library. It was here that he extended his theory and discussed it with the leading scientists of Europe. In 1912 he chose to accept a job placing him in high authority at the Federal Institute of Technology, where he had originally studied. It was not until 1914 that Einstein was tempted to return to Germany to become research director of the Kaiser Wilhelm
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Albert Einstein, Mileva Mari, Massenergy equivalence, Political views of Albert Einstein, Albert Einstein in popular culture
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