- NAME: Albert Einstein
- OCCUPATION: Physicist
- BIRTH DATE: March 14, 1879
- DEATH DATE: April 18, 1955
- Did You Know?: Einstein was asked to be the president of Israel, but he declined: After Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first president, died in 1952, the country's prime minister offered the job to Einstein.
- Did You Know?: Einstein died after refusing surgery, saying, "I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly."
- EDUCATION: Luitpold Gymnasium, Eidgenössische Polytechnische Schule (Swiss Federal Polytechnic School)
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Ulm, Württemberg, Germany
- PLACE OF DEATH: Princeton, New Jersey
Best Known For
Albert Einstein was a German-born physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He is considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century.
Albert Einstein's vision and innovation created a lasting impact on both the world of science and our society. Click "buy Now" to learn more about the authorized Albert Einstein Archives. Video courtesy of Open Road Media.
Albert Einstein's vision and innovation created a lasting impact on both the world of science and our society. Click "Buy Now" to learn more about the authorized Albert Einstein Archives. Video courtesy of Open Road Media.
In 1919, a Solar Eclipse occurred, giving Einstein the ability to prove his Theory of Relativity correct.
The rising threat of the Nazi party forced Einstein to abandon his pacifist principles and write a letter to President Roosevelt that triggered the the Manhattan Project.
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In 1935, Albert Einstein was granted permanent residency in the United States and became an American citizen in 1940. As the Manhattan Project moved from drawing board to testing and development at Los Alamos, New Mexico, many of his colleagues were asked to develop the first atomic bomb, but Eisenstein was not one of them. According to several researchers who examined FBI files over the years,
the reason was the U.S. government didn't trust Einstein's lifelong association with peace and socialist organizations. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover went so far as to recommend that Einstein be kept out of America by the Alien Exclusion Act, but he was overruled by the U.S. State Department. Instead, during the war, Einstein helped the U.S. Navy evaluate designs for future weapons systems and contributed to the war effort by auctioning off priceless personal manuscripts. One example was a handwritten copy of his 1905 paper on special relativity which sold for $6.5 million, and is now located in the Library of Congress.
On August 6, 1945, while on vacation, Einstein heard the news that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. He soon became involved in an international effort to try to bring the atomic bomb under control, and in 1946, he formed the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists with physicist Leo Szilard. In 1947, in an article that he wrote for The Atlantic Monthly, Einstein argued that the United States should not try to monopolize the atomic bomb, but instead should supply the United Nations with nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of maintaining a deterrent. At this time, Einstein also became a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He corresponded with civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois and actively campaigned for the rights of African Americans.
After the war, Einstein continued to work on many key aspects of the theory of general relativity, such as wormholes, the possibility of time travel, the existence of black holes, and the creation of the universe. However, he became increasingly isolated from the rest of the physics community. With the huge developments in unraveling the secrets of atoms and molecules, spurred on by the development to the atomic bomb, the majority of scientists were working on the quantum theory, not relativity. Another reason for Einstein's detachment from his colleagues was his obsession with discovering his unified field theory. In the 1930s, Einstein engaged in a series of historic private debates with Niels Bohr, the originator of the Bohr atomic model. In a series of "thought experiments," Einstein tried to find logical inconsistencies in the quantum theory, but was unsuccessful. However, in his later years, he stopped opposing quantum theory and tried to incorporate it, along with light and gravity, into the larger unified field theory he was developing.
In the last decade of his life, Einstein withdrew from public life, rarely traveling far and confining himself to long walks around Princeton with close associates, whom he engaged in deep conversations about politics, religion, physics and his unified field theory.
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