Albert Einstein was born in Germany on March 14, 1879.As a kid he had
trouble learning to speak. His parents thought that he might be mentally
retarded. He was not smart in school. He suffered under the learning methods
that they used in the schools of Germany at that time so he was never able to
finish his studies. In 1894 his father’s business had failed and the family
moved to Milan, Italy. Einstein who had grown interested in science, went to
Zurich, Switzerland, to enter a famous technical school. There his ability in
mathematics and physics began to show.
When Einstein was graduated in 1900 he was unable to get a teaching
appointment at a university. Instead he got a clerical job in the patent office
at Bern, Switzerland. It was not what he wanted but it would give him leisure
for studying and thinking. While over there he wrote scientific papers.
Einstein submitted one of his scientific papers to the University of Zurich to
obtain a Ph.D. degree in 1905. In 1908 he sent a second paper to the University
of Bern and became lecturer there. The next year Einstein received a regular
appointment as associate professor of physics at the University of Zurich. By
1909, Einstein was recognized throughout Europe as a leading scientific thinker.
In 1909 the fame that resulted from his theories got Einstein a job at the
University of Prague, and in 1913 he was appointed director of a new research
institution opened in Berlin, the Kaiser Wilhelm Physics Institute.
In 1915, during World War 1, Einstein published a paper that extended
his theories. He put forth new views on the nature of gravitation. Newton’s
theories he said were not accurate enough. Einstein’s theories seemed to
explain the slow rotation of the entire orbit of the planet Mercury, which
Newton’s theories did not explain. Einstein’s theories also predicted that light
rays passing near the sun would be bent out of a straight line. When this was
verified at the eclipse of 1919, Einstein was instantly accepted as the great
scientific thinker since Newton.
By now Germany had fallen in the hands of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis.
Albert Einstein was Jewish. In 1933 when the Nazis came to power, Einstein
happened to be in California. He did not return to Germany. He went to Belgium
instead. The Nazis confiscated his possessions, publicly burned his writings,
and expelled him from all German scientific societies. Einstein came back to
the United States and became a citizen.
The atomic bomb is an explosive device that depends upon the release of
energy in a nuclear reaction known as FISSION, which is the splitting of atomic
nuclei. Einstein sent a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, pointing
out that atomic bombs are possible and that enemy nations must be allowed to
make them first.
Roosevelt agreed with Einstein and funded the Manhattan Project.
On April 18, 1955, Albert Einstein died. To his dying day, he urged the
world to come to some agreement that would make nuclear wars forever impossible.