50 Interesting Facts About Albert Einstein

Last updated on September 11th, 2017

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 50 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.

Interesting Facts About Albert Einstein (Image credit: Albert Einstein Archives,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)

#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.

Note: for 14 facts about Einstein’s brain, click here.

#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. He #also loved bird watching.

Related: Interesting facts about Sir Isaac Newton

#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.

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