Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Wurttemberg, Germany. Einstein contributed more than any other scientist since Sir Isaac Newton to our understanding of physical reality.
Einstein was slow to learn to talk, not beginning to speak until sometime after his second birthday. His slow verbal development combined with a native rebelliousness toward authority, led one schoolmaster to say that young Albert would never amount to much.
Einstein’s mother, Pauline, was a talented pianist. She introduced Albert to music as a small child, beginning his violin lessons at age six. He labored under unimaginative instruction until discovering the joys of Mozart’s sonatas at age 13. From that point on, although he had no further lessons, his violin remained a constant companion. Einstein said later that, “I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in the form of music.”
When Einstein was 10, a poor student named Max Talmud began dining with the Einstein family once a week. Max would bring illustrated science books for Albert to study, and they would discuss what Albert learned. Max gave him a geometry textbook two years before Albert was to study the subject at school. Max later recalled, “Soon the flight of his mathematical genius was so high that I could no longer follow.”
In 1896, Einstein entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a physics and mathematics instructor. He graduated in 1901, and unable to find a teaching position, accepted a job as technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office in Bern. Einstein worked at the patent office from 1902 to 1909. During this period he completed an astonishing range of theoretical physics publications, written in his spare time, without the benefit of scientific literature or close contact with colleagues.
The most well known of these works is Einstein’s 1905 paper proposing ̴the special theory of relativity.” He based his new theory on the principle that the laws of physics are in the same form in any frame of reference. As a second fundamental hypothesis, Einstein assumed that the speed of light remained constant in all frames of reference.
Later in 1905 Einstein showed how mass and energy were equivalent expressing it in the famous equation: E=mc2 (energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared). This equation became a cornerstone in the development of nuclear energy.
Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921 but not for relativity, rather for his 1905 work on the photoelectric effect. He worked on at Princeton until the end of his life on an attempt to unify the laws of physics.
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Einstein: His Life and Universe
by Walter Isaacson
Acclaimed biographer Isaacson reminds us why Einstein (18791955) remains one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century.
Einstein: A Life
by Denis Brian
The author integrates Einstein's genius with his private and public life to give us a complete impression of the real person. A superb biographical achievement.
Einstein: A Life in Science
by Michael White and John Gribbin
A vivid portrait of Einstein the man, including accesible explanations of his scientific thought.
The Quotable Einstein
by Albert Einstein, Alice Calaprice, Editor
This book introduces the many sides of Albert Einstein, irascible and benign, humorous and dismissive. Includes his ideas arranged by theme, a family chronology, and a selected bibliography.
E = mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation
by David Bodanis
Offers an easily grasped gloss on the famous equation. Pays homage to Einstein and to his lesser known predecessors such as Maxwell, Faraday, and Lavoisier.
Einstein's Universe: A Guide to the Theory of Relativity
by Nigel Calder
A very accessible guide to Einstein's monumental theory of relativity.
NOVA: Einstein's Big Idea
Einstein's Big Idea dramatizes how an obscure young patent clerk came up with the shattering 1905 discovery that the realms of matter and energy are inescapably linked.
Using Einstiein's private papers, dramatized interviews, historical photography, and computer animation the producers reveal Einstein's personal life and his lifelong quest to understand nature.
NOVA - Genius: The Science of Einstein, Newton, Darwin, and Galileo
An excellent collection of four Nova programs about the lives and work of four of the most influential scientists in history: Einstein, Newton, Darwin, and Galileo.
NOVA - The Elegant Universe
Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University and the author of the best-selling book, The Elegant Universe, narrates this exciting and in-depth exploration of the latest theory of the nature of the universe, superstring theory.
Einstein Archive Online
An itemized database of approximately 43,000 Einstein and Einstein-related writings, professional and personal correspondence
Albert Einstein Archives
The repository of the personal papers of Albert Einstein
Einstein on Science and Religion
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals Himself in the orderly harmony of what exists...”Albert Einstein
Einstein’s Letters to Roosevelt
Regarding the Atomic Bomb
Einstein's Big Idea
Companion Web site to the NOVA program
Einstein at Princeton
The Historical Society of Princeton