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
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.