This Day In History 1879: Albert Einstein Is Born [Video]

Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds in human history, was born 137 years ago today. Einstein’s theories revolutionized the science of physics, and have led to numerous inventions and a better understanding of the vast universe we call home.

Albert’s father Hermann was a salesman and engineer while his mother, Pauline, was a stay-at-home housewife and mother. Albert didn’t fare well in school during his early years due to a speech issue and an inability to adjust to his school’s rigid rules and guidelines. It was during this time that Einstein discovered a love for music and the need to learn and understand the world around him.

Max Talmud may be the man that gave the world the genius that was Einstein. Talmud was hired by Albert’s parents as a private tutor. During this tutoring sessions, Talmud introduced Albert to the world of science. One of Albert’s first scientific passions was the study of light.

The Einsteins, minus Albert, moved to Italy in the mid-1890s. Einstein was left behind in the care of a relative while he finished his schooling in Germany. Albert would drop out of school and avoided mandatory military service with the help of a doctor’s note. Albert soon traveled to Italy and was reunited with his mother and father. Albert’s future was questioned by his parents. They did not know what type of life their son would have since he dropped out of school and avoided the mandatory military service that the country had as law.

From Italy, Albert traveled to Zurich, Switzerland where he enrolled in the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School. Albert’s exceptional scores in math and science paved the way for his acceptance in the school. A Serbian physics student, Mileva Maric, caught the eye of Albert while he was studying in Zurich. They would eventually get married in 1903.

In 1905, Einstein received his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich. Historians refer to this year in Einstein’s life as the “miracle year” due to the fact that he had five papers published in theoretical physics that would shape the science of physics for years to come. The famous equation E=mc2 was published in his fourth paper in 1905. Albert would win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 for his study of the photoelectric effect which said light had particle-like properties while acting like a wave. This theory became the building blocks of the quantum theory.

With the rise of Hitler and Nazi’s in Germany, Jewish scientists were targeted as frauds. Einstein was marked for death by Hitler due to Albert’s immense success in the world of physics. Einstein would renounce his German citizenship and moved to the United States. In 1939, Albert wrote a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt. The topic of discussion in the letter was the atomic bomb. Einstein and other scientists feared that Germany’s study in atomic research was far ahead of the research going on in the United States. Albert feared that Germany would be extremely dangerous if they were to completely understand the power that lied inside the atom. Even though he had no role in the Manhatten Project, Einstein is responsible for the United States to seriously study atomic energy, which led to the creation of the atomic bomb.

Einstein would accept a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey in 1940. During his time in Princeton, Albert was working on the unified field theory. He would publish a paper on this subject in 1950, even though it was not able to be proven. In 1955, Albert Einstein died in Princeton, cementing his legacy as the greatest mind of the 20th century.

[Image Via Getty Images/Central Press/Stringer]