Albert Einstein, the great physicist and philosopher, was born in Germany 1879 in a Jewish family and his life must always be seen within the content of the provincial Swabian-folkways in a rural characteristic. Einstein’s character was so simple that people were astonished that he was able to deduce such complex theories. His childhood also shows contradictions about his failure in school and rejection to teachers. The world’s genius, Einstein, never settled down in one country nor admired Hitler as most of German people.
Although he was a simple and optimistic character his life doesn’t reflect a normal stable attitude.
As a child, Albert’s parents feared that he might be retarded child since he wasn’t able to talk before he was three-year old; he also continued to have trouble in speaking fluently for several years. In elementary school his performance was so bad that his parents were sure that he was mentally retarded. His classmates and teachers used to call him names because of his peculiar attitude such as repeating his own words and observing the ceilings for such a long time.
Albert’s reaction wasn’t positive, he just isolated himself more. May be his failure in elementary school was due to the fact that he rejected to be taught by others. He preferred to teach himself instead. So when he was a teenager he taught himself advanced Mathematics and science. Einstein carried on with this pattern of independent study for the rest of his life.
His father, although a merchant, possessed an inclination for technical matters and so he managed an electrical business where he invented and sold equipment such as dynamos and electrical lamps. He introduced Einstein to the mystery of matter when he gave him a compass at the age of four, which seemed to Einstein that it came from another world as it behaved in such a determined way that it didn’t fit to his into the nature of events. He said “this experience made a deep and lasting impression on me” and he was so puzzled that he deduced that “something deeply hidden had to be behind things” (Albert Einstein Historical and cultural perspectives). Moreover, his father used to take him at the electromechanical fairs to present his electrical inventions. Perhaps such attitude from Albert’s father had helped him to desire physics and imagine the unknown puzzles of the physical world. However, Albert didn’t see an optimistic world through his mother’s world as he saw through his father’s and hence she didn’t have such impact on him as his father.
Einstein changed his nationality several times from German, which he renounced in 1894, to Swiss in1900 because he had been studying at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich since 1896. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Einstein decided to leave Germany and never to return. He then emigrated to the United States to make his home at the Institute of Advanced Studies and became a U.S. citizen in 1940. Prior to World War II, Germany considered Einstein a traitor when he recommended that Europe should re-arm itself and build up its forces, as he was sure that Germany was preparing for a war.
Einstein’s theories don’t reflect his simple character; however, they are difficult because they require an individual to discard patterns of thinking that are too basic. Never the less, his theories made him one of the most popular scientists in history and by which he received many prizes such as a golden medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, London 1926, and the Franklin Institute Medal, Philadelphia 1935. He also received honorary doctorates from many universities. His theories of relativity introduced a revolutionary new way of thinking about space, time and even the whole universe. He also established the relationship between mass and energy with his famous equation E=mc squared, for which he received his Nobel Prize. Einstein helped a great deal in the invention of the atomic bomb although he declared that his intentions were for world peace. However, he proved his intentions to be right when he became a chair- man of the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists that encourages countries to focus on developing peaceful uses for nuclear energy.
The last thirty years in his scientific career were devoted to two problems; the first, was the validity of the quantum theory while the second was a unified field theory. Although he published several solutions, none of them found a general acceptance. In 1955 after suffering from severe health problems, Einstein died refusing to undergo a surgery to strengthen his weak heart. Based on his instructions, there were no funeral, grave nor a monument; his brain was donated to science and his body was burned and the ashes were scattered at a nearby river. I believe Einstein gave these instructions, as deep inside he felt he had no homeland to be buried in.
Albert Einstein was a man of contrasts and contradictions; for instance, he deliberately distanced himself from others in order to carry out his research in solitude. At the mean time, he gave a lot of his time and energy to the public enduring harsh criticism. Moreover, while he was thought to be a retarded child, he turned out to be a genius who changed a lot in the world’s science. He is also a self made man who taught himself and was able to see things that a normal educated person wouldn’t have seen. Einstein was committed to the right of every human being to freedom, truth and justice. He once wrote, “the most important human endeavor is the striving for mortality in our actions”(Contemporary heroes and heroines 184).
Contemporary Heroes and Heroines. P. 184- 188.
Thinkers of the Twentieth Century. P.146-148.
Encyclopedia of Britannia. P.176-178.
Holton, Gerald and Elkana, Yehuda. Albert Einstein, Historical And Cultural
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