Albert Einstein, born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm, Germany, was a brilliant physicist and mathematician. His early years were spent in Munich, where he attended the Luitpold Gymnasium. After moving to Italy, he continued his education in Aarau, Switzerland. In 1896, he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich, studying physics and mathematics with the goal of becoming a teacher.
Although Einstein had difficulty finding a teaching position after earning his diploma in 1901, he found work as a technical assistant at the Swiss Patent Office. It was during this time that he produced much of his groundbreaking work. In 1908, he became a Privatdozent in Berne, and in 1909, he was appointed Professor Extraordinary in Zurich. He held several academic positions throughout his career, including Professor of Theoretical Physics in Prague and Berlin.
In 1933, due to political reasons, Einstein renounced his German citizenship and emigrated to the United States, where he joined the faculty at Princeton University as a Professor of Theoretical Physics. Einstein became a United States citizen in 1940 and retired in 1945. After World War II, he played a significant role in the World Government Movement and was involved in the establishment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with Dr. Chaim Weizmann.
Einstein’s contributions to the field of physics were immense. He revolutionized our understanding of the universe with his special theory of relativity, which aimed to reconcile the laws of mechanics with the laws of electromagnetism. He also made significant advancements in statistical mechanics, quantum theory, and the theory of gravitation.
In his later years, Einstein dedicated himself to the quest for a unified theory of physics. He worked tirelessly to reconcile the fundamental concepts of the field, taking a unique approach known as geometrisation. Throughout his career, Einstein received numerous accolades, including honorary doctorate degrees and prestigious awards like the Copley Medal and the Franklin Medal.
Outside of his scientific pursuits, Einstein found solace in music and was a devoted violinist. He was married twice, first to Mileva Maric, with whom he had a daughter and two sons, and later to his cousin Elsa Löwenthal. Einstein passed away on April 18, 1955, in Princeton, New Jersey.
This article, originally written for the Les Prix Nobel book series, provides insights into Albert Einstein’s remarkable life and achievements. It has been edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. For proper citation, please reference the source as mentioned above.
* Please note that Albert Einstein was formally associated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
© The Nobel Foundation 1922