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Albert Einstein

Einstein Year 2005
A Profile
Einstein was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel
Albert Einstein at Hopi House
Was Einstein's Brain Different?
Quotes of Albert Einstein
Einstein Year 2005


In 1905 Albert Einstein changed physics and the way we understand our world. One hundred years on Einstein Year is celebrating the excitement and diversity of physics today. A range of events and activities will bring the fascination of physics to audiences of all ages, throughout the UK and Ireland during 2005

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Albert Einstein : A Profile


Thanks to his theory of relativity, Einstein became the most famous scientist of the 20th century. In 1905, while working in a Swiss patent office, he published a paper proposing a "special theory of relativity," a groundbreaking notion which laid the foundation for much of modern physics theory. (The theory included his famous equation e=mc².) Einstein's work had a profound impact on everything from quantum theory to nuclear power and the atom bomb. He continued to develop and refine his early ideas, and in 1915 published what is known as his general theory of relativity. By 1920 Einstein was internationally renowned; he won the Nobel Prize in 1921, not for relativity but for his 1905 work on the photoelectric effect. In 1933 Einstein moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where he worked at the Institute for Advanced Studies until the end of his life. Einstein's genius is often compared with that of Sir Isaac Newton; in 2000 Time magazine named him the leading figure of the 20th century.

Extra credit: In 1939 Einstein sent a famous letter to Franklin Roosevelt, warning of Germany's work on an atomic bomb and urging Allied research... Einstein was famously rumpled and frizzy-haired, and over time his image has become synonymous with absent-minded genius... The Institute for Advanced Studies has no formal link to Princeton University; however, according the IAS website, the two institutions "have many historic ties and ongoing relationships."

Special Links




Albert Einstein Online
Tremendous index of Einstein links online -- a great starting place

LucidCafe: Albert Einstein
A good simple overview of his life

Person of the Century
Time magazine salutes Einstein and explores his impact, with links to past articles

Einstein Revealed
Greater detail on his life from NOVA Online, with factoids and a fun Time Traveler game

14 March 1879

Ulm, Germany

18 April 1955
(heart failure)

Best Known As:
Creator of the theory of relativity



Einstein was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel


Albert Einstein
was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. Six weeks later the family moved to Munich and he began his schooling there 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.

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.

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.

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 at Hopi House



Albert Einstein visits Hopi House at the Grand Canyon, 1931.
Photo by El Tovar Studios
Courtesy of Museum of Northern Arizona Photo Archives (78.0071) and
Museum of New Mexico Photo Archives (38193)

Albert Einstein at Hopi House

Albert Einstein made his second trip to the United States in the period between December 1930 and March 1931 to spend some time at California Institute of Technology, one of the institutions that was courting him to join their staff. It was on the return trip across the U.S. by train that the above photograph was taken. There are several striking things about this photograph that deserve mention. It is clear that the headdress that has been placed on Professor Einstein's head and the pipe he has been given to hold have no relationship to the Indians in this photograph. These Indians are Hopis from the relatively nearby Hopi pueblos while the headdress and pipe belong to the Plains Indian culture. The actual location of the photograph is Hopi House, a part of the Fred Harvey concession at the Grand Canyon. The studio that took the photograph was associated with the El Tovar Hotel, at the Grand Canyon. The two buildings sat side by side with Hopi House, designed by Mary Colter, being used for the display and sales of Native American crafts. Many of the crafts people hired by the Fred Harvey Company, such as Nampeyo and Fred Kabotie, are among the most highly regarded Native American artists of their generation. The Hopis in this picture were employees of the Fred Harvey Company who demonstrated their arts there and, no doubt, posed for many other pictures with tourists.

Besides Albert Einstein and his wife, there are 3 adult Hopis and one Hopi child in the photograph. Einstein is holding the hand of a young Hopi girl in a very natural manner; she is clutching something tightly in her other hand and is quite intent upon something outside the frame. Prof. Einstein's attraction to children is seen in several other unofficial photographs. He loved children and felt quite comfortable with them. The two men on the left side of the photograph were there to facilitate the Einstein's trip. The man on the left is J. B. Duffy, General Passenger Agent of the ATSF (the famous Atichson, Tokepa and Santa Fe Railroad); the other man is Herman Schweizer, Head of Fred Harvey Curio, normally stationed in Albuquerque. He may have spoken German and was therefore present because Prof. Einstein was not completely comfortable yet with English.

None of the Einstein biographers that have mentioned this photograph have the location correct. Most place it at "the Hopi Reservation at the Grand Canyon." In fact, the Hopi Reservation lies approximately 100 miles east of the site of this photograph. One biographer says that Einstein was embarrassed by being given the name "The Great Relative". Another claimed that he was smirking in the photograph. (We have examined a large scale poster of the photograph in great detail and find that no such statement can be made since his mouth is in full shadow!)

It isn't possible to know how the Einsteins felt about this encounter. However, he does seem comfortable here, even if his wife does not. He probably is not concerned about saying the wrong thing and embarrassing his hosts as happened in Pasadena, where his pacifist views were disturbing to rich conservatives being courted for contributions to CalTech. He has probably not been asked to give a one sentence explanation of relativity theory either. It is also unknown whether he had any knowledge at all of American Indian culture(s). Did he know that the headdress and pipe were entirely unconnected with the Indians in the photograph? All we know is that he could (and did) speak of his heritage as tribal; his politics were definitely unconventional, and he was entirely unable to control the use of his own image. At this time, his presence (silent, preferably) was desired as a badge of approval by many people and organizations, both political and scientific. Later, his easily recognizable image would be appropriated for use in commercials for beer, hosiery, electric companies and other disparate items.

With fame I become more and more stupid, which, of course, is a very common phenomenon. There is far too great a disproportion between what one is and what others think one is, or at least what they say they think one is. But o ne has to take it all with good humor.

Another such publicity photograph taken at Hopi House, Madame [Luisa] Tetrazzini, famous opera star, posing with Indians of the Hopi House, is available from the Cline Library at Northern Arizona University.

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Was Einstein's Brain Different?


Of course it was—people's brains are as different as their faces. In his lifetime many wondered if there was anything especially different in Einstein's. He insisted that on his death his brain be made available for research. When Einstein died in 1955, pathologist Thomas Harvey quickly preserved the brain and made samples and sections. He reported that he could see nothing unusual. The variations were within the range of normal human variations. There the matter rested until 1999. Inspecting samples that Harvey had carefully preserved, Sandra F. Witelson and colleagues discovered that Einstein's brain lacked a particular small wrinkle (the parietal operculum) that most people have. Perhaps in compensation, other regions on each side were a bit enlarged—the inferior parietal lobes. These regions are known to have something to do with visual imagery and mathematical thinking. Thus Einstein was apparently better equipped than most people for a certain type of thinking. Yet others of his day were probably at least as well equipped—Henri Poincaré and David Hilbert, for example, were formidable visual and mathematical thinkers, both were on the trail of relativity, yet Einstein got far ahead of them. What he did with his brain depended on the nurturing of family and friends, a solid German and Swiss education, and his own bold personality.

A late bloomer: Even at the age of nine Einstein spoke hesitantly, and his parents feared that he was below average intelligence. Did he have a learning or personality disability (such as "Asperger's syndrome," a mild form of autism)? There is not enough historical evidence to say. Probably Albert was simply a thoughtful and somewhat shy child. If he had some difficulties in school, the problem was probably resistance to the authoritarian German teachers, perhaps compounded by the awkward situation of a Jewish boy in a Catholic school.

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Overviews about Einstein





Einstein Moments










In His Own Words





The Quotable Einstein





Pictures of Einstein





Related Pages


Listen to a radio interview with Einstein on the day he became an American citizen.

Now available in a new Hardcover book by Donald Goldsmith, Phd. with the accompanying cd-rom included for .






  • Have located the film "Einstein's Universe." It is a 2-hour film produced by the BBC in 1979 and is distributed in 16mm and NTSC VHS formats by: Corinth Films, 34 Gansevoort, New York, NY 10014, Tel. 800-221-4720
    Purchase price is a hefty $250.00, and rental price is $175.00 for a one-time showing. Unfortunately, unless it is available from some other source, such as the BBC, it shall remain largely inaccessible for home viewing by the general public.
    Respectfully, John Holder,
  • New Einstein Book!: Just recently, Princeton University Press has just published "The Quotable Einstein", a book of over 600 quotes on, by, or about Einstein. It's a bargain (only $16.95) and every single quote has the source cited (except for the "attibuted to Einstein" section). No more does one have to worry whether he said it, what he said exactly, or when he said it -- it's all in the book.
  • New Einstein auction at Christie's! The Einstein-Besso manuscript will be sold.
  • Please sign the Einstein CyberCard honoring his birthday, March 14th, 1879 at 11:30 AM in Ulm, Germany.






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This page is maintained by S. Morgan Friedman.


Quotes of Albert Einstein


"It is best, it seems to me, to separate one's inner striving from one's trade as far as possible. It is not good when one's daily break is tied to God's special blessing." -- Albert Einstein

"It may affront the military-minded person to suggest a reqime that does not maintain any military secrets." -- Albert Einstein

"It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure." -- Albert Einstein

"So long as they don't get violent, I want to let everyone say what they wish, for I myself have always said exactly what pleased me." -- Albert Einstein

"Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty." -- Albert Einstein

"Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love." -- Albert Einstein                                                                   

Thanks to Rick Burress <>

"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours that's relativity." -- Albert Einstein

Thanks to Glen E Kelly <>

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, scince for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despiceable an ignoreable war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder." -- Albert Einstein
Thanks to Alexander Elsing <>

"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."--Albert Einstein

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing. -- Albert Einstein

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
- Albert Einstein

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
- Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, when asked to describe radio, replied:
"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

God doesn't play dice.
-- Albert Einstein

God may be subtle, but He isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." -- Albert Einstein

If A equals success, then the formula is _ A = _ X + _ Y + _ Z. _ X is work. _ Y is play. _ Z is keep your mouth shut. -- Albert Einstein

"If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith."
-- Albert Einstein

Man usually avoids attributing cleverness to somebody else
-- unless it is an enemy.

-- Albert Einstein

The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. -- Albert Einstein

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." --Albert Einstein

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." --Albert Einstein

"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough." --Albert Einstein

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein

"Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish." --Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible." --Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one." --Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war." --Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"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." --A. Einstein

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence." --Einstein, Albert

"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeeded be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." --Einstein, Albert

"What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." --Albert Einstein

"If one studies too zealously, one easily loses his pants." --Albert Einstein

Through the release of atomic energy, our generation has brought into the world the most revolutionary force since prehistoric man's discovery of fire. This basic force of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalisms.
For there is no secret and there is no defense; there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world. We scientists recognise our inescapable responsibility to carry to our fellow citizens an understanding of atomic energy and its implication for society. In this lies our only security and our only hope - we believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not for death.
A. Einstein, 1947 d.C.

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