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JW Tribute: Albert Einstein, 1879 -1955

Albert Einstein 1879 -1955


Professor Albert Einstein, the father of relativity theory, is considered the most outstanding scientist of all time. His groundbreaking ideas changed people’s view of physics, giving us a better understanding of our world, and making his name a synonym for Genius.

In 1905, called the "wondrous year," he published four articles that changed the Physics' World.

Award for his work on the photoelectric effect, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.

Years later, with the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany, as he was a Jew, he immigrates to the United States. There he accepted an offer of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he could continue his research, scientific and public activities until his final days.


Death: 18 April 1955 (age 76) Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.

Citizenship: Citizen of the German Kingdom of Württemberg (1896–1901), Citizen of Switzerland (1901–1955), Citizen of the United States (1940–1955) .

Parents: Pauline Koch y Hermann Einstein .

Spouse: Mileva Marić (married 1903; divorced 1919) Elsa Löwenthal (married 1919; divorced 1936) .

Children: “Lieserl” Einstein, Hans Albert Einstein, Eduard “Tete” Einstein .

Education: Swiss Federal Polytechnic (1896–1900; B.A., 1900) University of Zurich (Ph.D., 1905).



His simplicity made him one of the most beloved men in history. He was a passionate violinist with pacifist views and was a big supporter of the civil rights movement.

While living in Germany, motivated to take a stand against anti-Semitism, he became a strong supporter of the pioneer Zionist movement of the beginning of the 20th century and was among the founders of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - highly engaged in raising funds for its establishment and also in its academic aspects -.

In 1923, he visited Mount Scopus (British mandate of Palestine), where he gave the university's first scientific lecture; and in 1952, after his friend, then president of Israel Chaim Weizmann, passed, was nominated to succeed him, although he declined the proposition: "The offer deeply moves me from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it."

Before his death, believing that his work would find a stable, secure, and permanent home in Israel, he willed his literary estate and all personal papers to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Located on the Edmond J. Safra Campus, "The Einstein Archives" holds his scientific and non-scientific writings, including the famous E=mc2 formula; his correspondence; books from his library at Princeton; and photographs.




Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany in 1879, a German citizen from birth. As a child, Einstein showed some difficulties in learning and development. He began to speak at age four. His performance in school was also not outstanding, as he struggled to cope with the rigid discipline. However, he developed a deep interest in science, influenced by his uncle. At age 17, he moved with his parents to Italy and Switzerland.

His interest in science led him to study at the Polytechnic of Zurich, Switzerland. He then renounced to his German citizenship, becoming a Swiss citizen, and he began to work as an assistant in the Swiss Patent Office in 1901. His first theoretical paper, one on the capillary forces of a straw, was published, and by 1905 he was awarded his doctorate by the University of Zurich.

He later met and fell in love with Mileva Maric, a Hungarian college classmate. They married in 1903 and had three children.

LEFT : Einstein Arriving to New York City Next
to his wife Elsa and Zionist leaders, 1921. RIGTH: Albert Einstein archives / U Press Receiving the Nobel Price, 1921.


Recognized as his “wonder year, in 1905, he published four research papers that were fundamental in physics sciences: in the first, he explained the photoelectric effect, in the second, he explained a physical phenomenon called the Brownian Movement, but the other two were the ones revolutionary: the Work is known as “Special Theory of Relativity” and a theory complementing the previous one.

Later in 1915, known as the General Theory of Relativity, he expanded his views on the nature of light, time, and space, including gravitational influence, which constituted the most outstanding contribution to physics since the days of Newton.

His work on relativity made him world-famous when he concluded that the trajectory of light arriving on Earth from a star would be bent by the gravity of the Sun.

In 1919, he divorced from Mileva Maric. This same year a solar eclipse proves Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.


Thanks to the research on the photoelectric effect, in 1921, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Becoming very famous and greeted like a head of state, with crowds saluting his arrival, he began to lecture worldwide and traveled broadly, even to far Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Japan. He met many humanists and humanitarian luminaries, including Rabindranath Tagore.

He married his cousin Elsa, and supporting the Zionist cause, in 1921 they traveled to New York with Zionist leaders, including future President of Israel Chaim Weizmann. In 1923 he visited the Hebrew University, joining the Board of Governors and its Academic Council. In 1925, he visited various countries in South America, and around 1927 he begins to develop the foundation of quantum mechanics with Niels Bohr.

Between 1930 and 1933, he makes several visits to the USA, delivering lectures at universities. In 1933, Adolf Hitler had just become Chancellor in Germany, and Einstein learned that his name was on a Nazi Blacklist. He again renounced to his German citizenship and settled in the United States, where he worked at Princeton University, continuing to expand his theories.

In 1936 his wife Elsa passed away, and in 1940 he became a US Citizen, retaining his Swiss citizenship.

A critic of racism and a pacifist, he wrote to President T. Roosevelt urging him to press ahead with the development of a nuclear bomb to ensure the Germans did not get to it first. Later, he said this letter was his life’s biggest regret because atomic weapons had such a fierce capacity for destruction. He later fought for their abolition, and in 1947, he worked for the cause of disarmament.


He spent his last years at Princeton, working on his theories and the quantum mechanics field, and expanding his mathematical knowledge to develop those ideas. He served as an activist for peace and as an adviser concerning the creation of Israel's state. In 1952, after his friend Chaim Weizmann passed, then president of Israel, he was nominated to be his successor, a position he declined.

Before his death, he willed his literary estate and all personal papers to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

On April 18, 1955, as a result of an aneurysm's rupture, he died at the Princeton Hospital at 76.

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