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Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein E=MC2

Albert Einstein was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. 


Six weeks later the family moved to Munich, where he later on began his schooling at the Luitpold Gymnasium. Later, they moved to Italy and Albert continued his education at Aarau,


Switzerland and in 1896 he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. In 1901, the year he gained his diploma, he acquired Swiss citizenship and, as he was unable to find a teaching post, he accepted a position as technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office. In 1905 he obtained his doctor's degree.

During his stay at the Patent Office, and in his spare time, he produced much of his remarkable work and in 1908 he was appointed Privatdozent in Berne. In 1909 he became Professor Extraordinary at Zurich, in 1911 Professor of Theoretical Physics at Prague, returning to Zurich in the following year to fill a similar post. In 1914 he was appointed Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute and Professor in the University of Berlin. He became a German citizen in 1914 and remained in Berlin until 1933 when he renounced his citizenship for political reasons and emigrated to America to take the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton*. He became a United States citizen in 1940 and retired from his post in 1945.

After World War II, Einstein was a leading figure in the World Government Movement, he was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel, which he declined, and he collaborated with Dr. Chaim Weizmann in establishing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Einstein always appeared to have a clear view of the problems of physics and the determination to solve them. He had a strategy of his own and was able to visualize the main stages on the way to his goal. He regarded his major achievements as mere stepping-stones for the next advance.

At the start of his scientific work, Einstein realized the inadequacies of Newtonian mechanics and his special theory of relativity stemmed from an attempt to reconcile the laws of mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. He dealt with classical problems of statistical mechanics and problems in which they were merged with quantum theory: this led to an explanation of the Brownian movement of molecules. He investigated the thermal properties of light with a low radiation density and his observations laid the foundation of the photon theory of light.

In his early days in Berlin, Einstein postulated that the correct interpretation of the special theory of relativity must also furnish a theory of gravitation and in 1916 he published his paper on the general theory of relativity. During this time he also contributed to the problems of the theory of radiation and statistical mechanics.

Albert Einstein, 1905

Albert Einstein, 1905

In the 1920's, Einstein embarked on the construction of unified field theories, although he continued to work on the probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory, and he persevered with this work in America. He contributed to statistical mechanics by his development of the quantum theory of a monatomic gas and he has also accomplished valuable work in connection with atomic transition probabilities and relativistic cosmology.

Albert Einstein, 1920

Albert Einstein, 1920

After his retirement he continued to work towards the unification of the basic concepts of physics, taking the opposite approach, geometrisation, to the majority of physicists.

Einstein's researches are, of course, well chronicled and his more important works include Special Theory of Relativity (1905), Relativity (English translations, 1920 and 1950), General Theory of Relativity (1916), Investigations on Theory of Brownian Movement (1926), and The Evolution of Physics (1938). Among his non-scientific works, About Zionism (1930), Why War? (1933), My Philosophy (1934), and Out of My Later Years (1950) are perhaps the most important.

Albert Einstein received honorary doctorate degrees in science, medicine and philosophy from many European and American universities. During the 1920's he lectured in Europe, America and the Far East and he was awarded Fellowships or Memberships of all the leading scientific academies throughout the world. He gained numerous awards in recognition of his work, including the Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London in 1925, and the Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1935.


Albert Einstein, at Princeton

Albert Einstein, at Princeton

Einstein's gifts inevitably resulted in his dwelling much in intellectual solitude and, for relaxation, music played an important part in his life. He married Mileva Maric in 1903 and they had a daughter and two sons; their marriage was dissolved in 1919 and in the same year he married his cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, who died in 1936. He died on April 18, 1955 at Princeton, New Jersey.

Albert Einstein Named Person of the Century on the cover of TIME Magazine 

Albert Einstein Named Person of the Century on the cover of TIME Magazine 

(December 31, 1999 Vol. 154 No. 27)

Matter can be changed into energy. The famous scientist Albert Einstein created the mathematical formula that explains this. 

Albert Einstein

It is:

E = mc2

This equation says:

E [energy] equals m [mass] times c2 [c stands for the speed of light. c2 means c times c, or the speed of light raised to the second power -- or c-squared.]


"It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing -- a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind. Furthermore, the equation E is equal to m c-squared, in which energy is put equal to mass, multiplied by the square of the velocity of light, showed that very small amounts of mass may be converted into a very large amount of energy and vice versa. The mass and energy were in fact equivalent, according to the formula mentioned above. This was demonstrated by Cockcroft and Walton in 1932, experimentally."



Frequently Asked Questions About Albert Einstein


Question: When was Albert Einstein born?

Answer: Albert Einstein was born on 14 March 1879.

Question: Where was he born?

Answer: He was born in Ulm, Germany.

Question: When did he die?

Answer: He died 18 April 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

Question: Who were his parents?

Answer: His father was Hermann Einstein and his mother was Pauline Einstein (born Koch).

Question: Did he have any sisters and brothers?

Answer: He had one sister named Maja.

Question: Did he marry and have children?

Answer: He was married to Mileva Marić between 1903 and 1919. They had three children, Lieserl (born 1902), Hans Albert (born 1904) and Eduard (born 1910). He married Elsa Löwenthal in 1919 and they lived together until her death in 1936.

Question: Where did he receive his education?

Answer: He received his main education at the following schools:
Catholic elementary school in Munich, Germany (1885-1888)
Luitpold Gymnasium in Munich, Germany (1888-1894)
Cantonal school in Aarau, Switzerland (1895-1896)
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland (1896-1900)
Ph.D. from Zurich University, Switzerland (1905)

Question: When was Albert Einstein awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics?

Answer: The Nobel Prize Awarding Institution, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, decided to reserve the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, and therefore no Physics Prize was awarded that year. According to the statutes, a reserved prize can be awarded the year after, and Albert Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

Question: Did Albert Einstein attend the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony?

Answer: The Nobel Prize was announced on 9 November 1922. Being too remote from Sweden, Albert Einstein could not attend the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December the same year.

Question: For what did he receive the Nobel Prize?

Answer: Einstein was rewarded for his many contributions to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.

Question: What is the photoelectric effect?

Answer: The photoelectric effect is a phenomenon in which electrons are emitted from the surface of matter (usually metals) when light shines upon it. Einstein explained the effect by proposing that light consists of small particles, or quanta, called photons, which carry energy that is proportional to the frequency of light. The electrons in the matter that absorb the energy of the photon get ejected. These findings were published in 1905 in the paper "On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light". Einstein's observations that the photoelectric effect could only be explained if light behaves like a particle, not a wave, was instrumental in establishing the hypothesis that light can behave both like a wave and a particle.

Question: What are the practical applications of the photoelectric effect?

Answer: The photoelectric effect is very important for our daily life. It is the basis for photosynthesis, which is like a very effective solar cell where sunlight is absorbed by plants to make them grow. The effect also forms the basis for a variety of devices such as photodiodes, which are used in light detection within fibre optics, telecommunications networks, solar cells, imaging and many other applications.

Question: When did he deliver his Nobel Lecture?

Answer: He gave his Nobel Lecture on 11 July 1923 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Question: What other scientific accomplishments is Albert Einstein known for?

Answer: Albert Einstein is one of the most influential physicists in the 20th century. In 1905 Einstein published four landmark papers in physics - on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, the special theory of relativity and equivalence of matter and energy (E=mc2). The year 2005 was named the "World Year of Physics" in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Einstein's publications. Einstein is also well known for his general relativity theory published 1915 that complements his special relativity theory of 1905.

Quotes from Albert Einstein

Quotes from Albert Einstein On Video set to Music

  • Imagination is more important than knowledge. 
  • It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity
  • It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom
  • Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
  • "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
  • There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle
  • If one studies too zealously, one easily loses his pants
  • The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax
  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new
  • Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler
  • Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school
  • The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing
  • Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving
  • I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones

From Nobel Lectures, Physics 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1967

This autobiography/biography was first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures.