Albert Einstein, a German-born physicist, is best known for his famous equation, which has been dubbed as ‘the world’s most famous equation’ – “E=mc2.” Albert Einstein was not very satisfied with Newtonian mechanics, as he thought that these theories were not enough to explain classical mechanics and the electromagnetic field. And this inspired him to develop his singular Theory of Relativity.
Here are 35 interesting facts about Albert Einstein’s childhood, brain, theories, notable work and papers, married life and more…
1. Born: Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany to parents Hermann Einstein and Pauline Einstein, in 1879.
2. Fat head at birth: Albert had a fat head at the time he was born. This startled his mother and grandmother when they saw him for the first time. However, the fat head slowly receded and turned into a normal size. Interestingly, a head containing the brain that would inspire millions of people in the future was not so perfect at birth.
3. Speech difficulty during childhood: Einstein did not speak until the age of three. He revealed this fact about the delay of his speech abilities to his biographer. Today there is a term, “Einstein Syndrome,” which was coined by Dr. Thomas Sowell, to describe exceptionally bright people whose speech is delayed.
4. Early years: he spent his teenage years in Munich. His family operated an electrical equipment business in the city.
5. The parietal lobe in Einstein’s brain was 15% larger than that of an average brain.
6. Fascination for Science: the beginning of Einstein’s fascination about science came from a pocket compass, which was shown to him by his father when Einstein was five years old. He wondered what made the needle point in a certain direction and not anywhere else. This was the beginning of his long and illustrious career in science, which made him renowned around the world.
7. His favorite scientist: Galileo Galilei was Einstein’s favorite scientist.
8. Not suitable for employment: his teachers did not consider him a good student, and they refused to recommend him for further employment.
9. Failure at 16: at 16, Einstein is said to have failed an exam that would have let him train to become an electrical engineer.
10. Citizenships: Einstein was born German and a Jew. Einstein renounced his German citizenship in 1896. He became a Swiss citizen in 1901. However, he died in 1955 as an American citizen.
11. Could not swim: Albert Einstein never learned to swim. However he loved sailing and continued to do so as a hobby throughout his life. Also, Einstein never wore socks. He thought wearing socks was a pain, and he would often get holes in them.
12. An Avid Smoker: Einstein’s love for smoking was so enormous that he credited his pipe smoking with a calming and judgmental effect.
13. Invented refrigerator: Amazingly, Einstein also co-invented a refrigerator that would work on compressed gases.
14. An analytical and curious mind: Einstein was very curious and had an analytical mind at a very young age, showing great abilities in both mathematics and science.
15. Another interesting fact about Albert Einstein is that he had a poor memory. He could not remember names, dates or phone numbers.
16. The Nobel Prize in 1921: the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Albert Einstein “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.”
17. Love and Hate: he loved the violin and sailing, and hated socks and haircuts.
18. Einstein made groundbreaking discoveries during the earlier years of his life. While he continued to perform research, he did not produce anything of significance during the later years of his life.
19. If not a scientist – a musician: Einstein was very fond of music, and his mother played a vital role in his inclination towards music. She played violin, which became a source of enjoyment and inspiration for the young Einstein, who himself learned to play the instrument at the tender age of five. He said, “If I were not a scientist, I would be a musician.”
20. Imagination over knowledge: he always said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited, but imagination encircles the world.”
21. Illegitimate daughter: Einstein had an illegitimate child with fellow student Mileva Maric, who later became his first wife. Their child is believed to have died in 1903 because of an infection just one year after her birth.
22. Conditional marriage: Einstein lived on certain conditions with his first wife, which she agreed to. Here are the terms of the marriage, which lasted for almost 16 years:
He said in the contract, you (Mileva Maric) will make sure
- that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
- that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
- that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.
- that you will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons…
23. Connections with women: Even after his second marriage to his first cousin, he maintained connections with six women, receiving gifts and spending time with him. This was revealed from his letters, later on.
24. Did you know that almost immediately after Albert Einstein learned of the atomic bomb’s use in Japan, he became an advocate for nuclear disarmament?
25. The miracle year 1905: this year is believed to be a miracle year in Albert Einstein’s life. He published four papers during this year, representing his most creative work. These papers were about the Quantum theory, Brownian motion (existence of atoms), Electrodynamics of moving bodies and the most famous equation in the world – the E=MC2 equation – establishing the relationship between mass and energy. At this time, he was just 26 years old and worked during the day at a patent office.
26. His Masterwork: Einstein considered his general theory of relativity, published in 1915, to be his masterwork. The theory was the first theory on gravity to be published in the 250 years since Sir Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity was revealed. It brought Einstein a lot of attention from all over the world. Soon, he started touring the world and began speaking in front of crowds of thousands.
27. Left Germany forever: Einstein left Germany in December 1932, a month after Adolf Hitler became the chancellor of Germany. Einstein’s move to the United States was permanent; he never entered the country of his birth again.
28. Brain preserved: In 1955, after the death of the famous physicist and scientist, his body was cremated and ashes scattered. However, the only part of his body that was retained by pathologist Thomas Harvey at Princeton Hospital while conducting his autopsy was his brain. Thomas Harvey was later fired from the hospital for not returning Einstein’s brain, which he removed during the autopsy. (Interesting facts about the brain)
29. Unified Theory: During the later years of his life, Albert Einstein was working on unified field theory. His aim was to develop a theory that would explain the entrie universe and all the laws of physics, bringing them into a single framework. However, this theory remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1955.
30. Copely Medal in 1925: the Royal Society of London awarded him its prestigious Copely Medal in 1925 for his theory of relativity and contributions to quantum theory.
31. A simple man: Einstein believed and wished that people should be respected for their humanitarian work and thoughts, and not for their nationality and origin. In this context, expressing his cynicism for nationalistic pride, he once said: “If relativity is proved right, the Germans will call me a German, the Swiss will call me a Swiss citizen, and the French will call me a great scientist. If relativity is proved wrong, the French will call me Swiss, the Swiss will call me a German, and the Germans will call me a Jew.”
32. Refused to become president: Einstein was offered the opportunity to become president of Israel after the death of its first president in 1952. Einstein politely refused the offer, saying that he did not have the natural aptitude and experience to deal with people properly. And he could only understand a little of science and none of human nature.
33. Einstein could have lived longer: before he died, doctors suggested surgery to Einstein, as he suffered from a burst blood vessel. However, Einstein refused, stating, “It is tasteless to prolong life artificially.”
Also Read: 28 Interesting Facts About Henry Ford
Honor for Albert Einstein
34. Atomic number 99: Just after Einstein died in 1955, the recently discovered element with atomic number 99 was given the name ‘einsteinium’ in his honor.
35. Time magazine named Albert Einstein its “Person of the Century.”
Albert Einstein’s brain facts
1. Albert Einstein’s brain was removed within seven and a half hours of his death.
2. His brain was removed in Princeton Hospital by pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey shortly after his death in 1955.
3. After the brain was removed, it weighed 1230 g, which is less than the average adult male brain (about 1,400 grams.)
4. His brain was injected 50% formalin through the internal carotid arteries before being suspended in 10% formalin. It was kept in a jar for the next 20 years.
5. Einstein’s brain had parietal lobe that was 15% larger than the average brain.
6. Einstein had extraordinary prefrontal cortices, right behind the forehead, which revealed an intricate pattern of convolutions.
7. The study of his brain reveals that the motor face area in Einstein’s left hemisphere was extraordinarily expanded into a big rectangular patch. This is the region which is responsible for processing information from the face and tongue and laryngeal apparatus.
8. Research on Einstein’s brain has suggested that it had high number of glial cells per neuron. Einstein’s better thinking abilities and conceptual skills, are perhaps, the result of this.
9. Einstein’s son, Hans Einstein, endorsed the removal of his father’s brain for the purpose of scientific research and publishing. However, some recent research claims that the brain was removed without the permission of Einstein or his immediate family.
10. The great physicist’s brain was photographed from various angles for the sake of future research.
11. His brain was dissected in 240 blocks (each measuring around 1 cu. cm.)
12. Forty six small portions of Einstein’s brain were acquired by the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.
13. Absent in Einstein’s brain was the lateral sulcus (Sylvian fissure). Researchers accredit Einstein’s exceptional thinking to this unusual brain anatomy. However, it is noteworthy here that the study was based on the photographs of the whole brain and not the direct examination of the brain.
14. Hippocampus in Einstein’s brain was also studied to determine the characteristics that helped Einstein in his work. It was realized that the neurons on the left side of the hippocampus were larger than those on the right side.
10 famous quotes by Albert Einstein
- “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
- “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
- “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
- “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
- “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.”
- “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”
- “Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
- “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
- “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
And our favorite:
- “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
Some Quick facts about Albert Einstein
|Born||March 14, 1879, Ulm, Germany.|
|Died||April 18, 1955, Princeton, New Jersey, United States|
|Nationality||German, Swiss and American|
|Languages Known||German, French, English|
|Age at the time of death||76 years|
|Field of Work||Physics and Philosophy|
|Awards||Nobel Prize, Max Plank medal, Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Franklin Medal, Honorary Degree, Matteucci Medal, Copley Medal, Barnard Medal|
Bose-Einstein distribution | Einstein field equations | Einstein functions | Einstein summation | Einstein tensor
Brownian motion | Ehrenfest paradox | EPR paradox | photoelectric effect | twin paradox | particle in an external electromagnetic field
|Education||Luitpold Gymnasium, Eidgenössische Polytechnische Schule (Swiss Federal Polytechnic School)|
|Parents||Hermann Einstein | Pauline Einstein|
|Spouses||Mileva Marić (1903-1919)
Elsa Einstein (1919-1936)
Hans Albert (1904–1973)
Eduard "Tete" (1910–1965)
|Appeared in films||The Eternal Jew (1940) | Naqoyqatsi (2002) | Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie (1995) | Atomic Power|