Posted in: Geek Culture

10 Facts About Albert Einstein That You Gotta Know


You think you know somebody…

Heard Albert Einstein wasn’t good at math? Married his cousin? Find out some interesting tidbits and add to your cocktail party knowledge.

1. Albert Einstein did not fail math. Many people have blamed their bad math skills on Einstein with quips like, “Well, Einstein flunked math!” He didn’t. He wasn’t a bad student. He knew college physics before the age of 11 and mastered languages like Latin and Greek. Oh, and he was a calculus whiz before the age of 15. So, yeah, that excuse is out the window.

2. Einstein really did marry his cousin. For a man with such a high IQ, Einstein did make some strange decisions. He married his own cousin, Elsa Einstein, in 1919. According to, they were romantically involved, even in Einstein’s first marriage to Mileva Maric, the only female physics major at Polytechnic, where Einstein attended college. (Mileva and Einstein, left. Elsa and Einstein, right.)

einstein and milevaelsa einstein

Interestingly enough, Einstein isn’t the only famous figure to have married his cousin. Darwin, Allan Poe and Saddam Hussein also married their first cousins.

3. Einstein could have lived longer. When he suffered a burst blood vessel in 1955, doctors told him that surgery could have saved his life. He declined, saying

It is tasteless to prolong life artificially.”

4. Albert Einstein loved sailing. Along with marrying cousins, it was one of his passions. However, he reportedly never learned to swim. (Hope his boat was sturdy.)


5. Einstein could have been the president of Israel, had he accepted the offer. After Israel’s first president Chaim Weizmann died, Einstein was asked to step up to the plate. He was 73 at the time, and in his letter of refusal cited that he lacked the

natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people”

but also that he was getting old.

6. Einstein was a serious smoker. Adding to his disheveled image, those around him often found him in a cloud of smoke. He always had his pipe with him. Not limited to the pipe, he also had the occasional cigar and even cigarette. He said of smoking:

I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs.”

7. Einstein had a daughter, but we don’t know what happened to her. Before he and Mileva were married, she became pregnant with a daughter, whom she named Lieserl. Einstein didn’t have a job at the time and illegitimate children were frowned upon, so Mileva returned to her parents home and had the child. Einstein did know about her, as he referenced her in some of his letters. But it was such a secret that the fact has only come to light in recent years. It is believed that Lieserl either died of scarlet fever or fought off the fever and was later given up for adoption.

8. Although he was actually good at math, Einstein did fail his college entrance exam. In 1895 when he was 17, Einstein applied for entry at Swiss Federal Polytechnical School. He passed math and science (of course) but failed other subjects. He went to a trade school before he finally took the exam again and passed.

9. Einstein’s brain was stolen. No, I don’t mean his work. I mean his actual brain. Einstein wanted his body to be cremated, brain intact. Thomas Harvey, the pathologist who performed the autopsy, removed it. He kept it for many years in a jar, later relinquishing it to another hospital, where it was cubed. Literally. Sectioned into cubes. Rumor has it that Harvey also removed Einstein’s eyes and they are sitting in a safety deposit box in New York somewhere. Watching us all.


And finally…the big one…

10. Yoda = Einstein. Yes, the appearance of Yoda of Star Wars was modeled after Einstein. Those wrinkles? Those eyes? They’re all Einstein.


The resemblance is uncanny, right?

Einstein was a genius, we know that from his IQ. Rarely do we take the time to appreciate him as a person and learn about his past.

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