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Is Albert Einstein The Coolest Nerd To Ever Live?

Culture | December 1, 2016

Einstein was born in 1879 in Ulm, Germany, and grew up in a middle-class Jewish family in Munich. He played the violin as a child, which led to a fascination with music. His younger years is also when he fell in love with all things math and science. Although hailed as a genuis, he actually dropped out of school in 1894 to move to Switzerland. Once settled in Switzerland he resumed his education and pursued a more specialized degree from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich. By 1896, he had renounced his German citizenship and did not claim his Swiss citizenship until 1901.

While at Zurich Polytechnic, Einstein met the love of his life, fellow student Mileva Maric. Since Einsteins' parents did not approve of Mileva, the couple decided to forego a wedding they could not afford and rather begin their family and have a daughter out of wedlock in 1902. Once Einstein landed a job at the the Swiss patent office, he was able to marry Mileva and they went on to have two more children.

Through working at the patent office, Einstein was able to flex his creativity muscle. Within a few years, Einstein had provided four groundbreaking articles. His first article entailed applying the quantum theory to light, his second article contained proof of the existence of atoms, his third article introduced the theory of relativity, and the fourth article is where the famous E=MC(squared) was launched.

Einstein moved on to a full-time teaching position at the University of Zurich in 1909 and then spent time at the University of Berlin from 1913 as the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics. Oddly enough, during this time Einstein began a romantic relationship with his own cousin, Elsa Lowenthal, whom he marred after divorcing Mileva. In 1915, Einstein published the general theory of relativity, which he considered to be one of his proudest accomplishments. This theory was revolutionary as it was the first in the modern era, leading Einstein to tour the world to discuss this theory and ultimately win the Nobel Prize for his work. 

Einstein was known as a pacifist and upon the hostility and terrible economy surrounding Germany in the 1930s, Einstein decided to emigrate to the United States. In 1932 he accepted a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He never again returned to Germany.  Shortly after his move to the United States, Einstein's wife passed away.  He had spent most of his time searching for a unified theory whereby all laws of the universe and psychics could be incorporated into a single framework.  It was during this time that Einstein lost interest in the company of others, and became focused on his own research rather than sharing his knowledge with others. 

By the end of the 1930s Einstein's E=MC(squared) had helped to develop the atomic bomb. Einstein very much opposed the use of the atomic bomb and became an advocate of nuclear disarmament. The last years of his life were spent in a continued search for a unified theory, and though he published an article in 1950, it was unfinished as he passed away suddenly of an aortic aneurysm. 

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