Albert Einstein is known all over the world as a brilliant theoretical physicist and the founder of the theory of relativity. He is perhaps the greatest scientist of the 20th century. Some of his ideas made possible the atomic bomb, as well as television and other inventions.
He was born in 1879 in a small German town. The Einstein family soon moved to Munich, where Albert went to school. Neither his parents, nor his school teachers thought much of his mental abilities. His uncle often joked: "Not everybody is born to become a professor."
In 1895 Albert failed the entrance examination to a technical college in Zurich. A year later, however, he managed to pass the exam and entered the college.
After graduating from the college, Einstein started to work at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern. In 1905 he wrote a short article in a science magazine.
This was his 'Special Theory of Relativity', which gave the world the most famous equation relating mass and energy (E = me2), the basis of atomic energy.
Later, he became a professor in several European universities and in 1914 moved to Berlin as a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. After ten years of hard work he created his 'General Theory of Relativity'.
In 1921 Einstein received the Nobel Prize for Physics.
A Jew, and a pacifist, he was attacked by the Nazis, and when Hitler came to power in 1933 he decided to settle in the United States.
In 1939 Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt, at the request of several prominent physicists, outlining the military potential of nuclear energy and the dangers of a Nazi lead in this field. His letter greatly influenced the decision to build an atomic bomb, though he took no part in the Manhattan Project. After the war he spoke out passionately against nuclear weapons and repression.
Einstein died in 1955. The artificial element einsteinium has been named in his honour.

Last Updated (Friday, 19 February 2010 16:00)