|1879|| Born March 14, 1879, in Ulm, Germany|
|1884||Compass triggers life-long interest|
|1898||Falls in love with Mileva Maric|
|1902||(a) Their daugher Lieserl is born. (b) Albert begins work at Swiss patent office|
|1905|| Publishes three seminal papers on theoretical physics, including the special theory of relativity|
|1914||(a) He declares that resolving the quantum issue to be the central problem of physics. (b) Becomes professor of theoretical physics at the University of
Berlin. (c) Divorce proceedings with Mileva begins.|
|1915||Completes his general theory of relativity: Space is no longer the
box the universe comes in; instead, space and time, matter and energy are proved to be
locked together in a "most intimate embrace"|
|1917||Einstein collapses and, near death, falls seriously ill. He is
nursed back to health by his cousin Elsa.|
|1919||Albert marries Elsa|
|1922||Is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1921|
|1933||Emigrates with Elsa, mainly because of the Nazi take-over in
Germany. Comes to Princeton, New Jersey, where he assumes a post at the
Institute for Advanced Study|
|1939||Writes a letter to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and warns against Germany's building an atomic bomb|
|1933||He retains his Swiss citizenship|
|1955||Dies on April 18.|
OTTO Neugebauer, the historian of ancient mathematics, told a story about the boy Einstein
that he characterises as a "legend," but that seems fairly authentic.)
As he was a late talker, his parents were worried. At last, at the supper table one
night, he broke his silence to say, "The soup is too hot."
Greatly relieved, his parents asked why he had never said a word before.
Albert replied, "Because up to now everything was in order."
EINSTEIN came to Princeton University in 1935 and was asked what he would require for his
study. he replied: "A desk, some pads and a pencil, and a large wastebasket to hold all of
ONCE Einstein sent this reply, along with a page full of diagrams, to a fifteen-year-old
girl who had written for help on a homework assignment:
"Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics; I can assure you that mine are
RIVERSIDE Church in Manhattan planned to put up statues of the eight most famous scientists
who ever lived, according to their liking. Einstein was included. When asked how it felt to
be an "immortalized" living scientist in this way, Einstein answered,
"From now on, and for the rest of my life, I must be very careful not to commit a
SPEAKING at the Sorbonne during the 1930s, Einstein said, "If my relativity theory is
verified, Germany will proclaim me a German and France will call me a citizen of the world.
But if my theory is proved false, France will emphasize that I am a German and Germany will
say that I am a Jew."
EINSTEIN went to look at a kibbutz while on a visit to Palestine in 1921. He asked many
questions of the 22-year-old girl who was head of the young community. One question
"What is the relationship here of men to women?"
Thinking that he was one of the many visitors who thought that women were common
property in the kibbutz, she stammered, very embarrassed,
"But, Herr Professor, each man here has one woman."
Einstein's eyes twinkled. He took the girl's hand and said,
"Don't be alarmed at my question - by 'relationship' we physicists understand
something rather simple, namely how many men are there and how many women."
EINSTEIN was asked by his hostess at a social gathering to explain his theory of
relativity. Said the great mathematician,
"Madam, I was once walking in the country on a hot day with a blind friend, and said
that I would like a drink of milk."
"Milk?" said my friend, "Drink I know; but what is milk?"
"A white liquid," I replied.
"Liquid I know; but what is white?"
"The colour of a swan's feathers."
"Feathers I know; what is a swan?"
"A bird with a crooked neck."
"Neck I know; but what is this crooked?"
"Thereupon I lost patience. I seized his arm and straightened it. "That's straight,"
I said; and then I bent it at the elbow. "That's crooked."
"Ah!" said the blind man, "Now I know what you mean by milk!" [Of]
THE CLASSICAL scholar Gilbert Murray one day encountered Einstein sitting in the quadrangle
of Christ Church, Oxford. The exiled scientist was deep in thought, with a serene and
cheerful expression on his face. Murray asked him what he was thinking about.
"I am thinking that, after all, this is a very small star," Einstein answered.
ONE DAY during his tenure as a professor, Albert Einstein was visited by a student. "The
questions on this year's exam are the same as last year's!" the young man
"Yes," Einstein answereed, "but this year all the answers are different."
THE SCULPTOR Jacob Epstein tells this story:
"When I was doing Professor Albert Einstein's bust he had many a jibe at the Nazi
professors, one hundred of whom had condemned his theory of relativity in a book.
"Were I wrong," he said, "one professor would have been enough." [Of]
EINSTEIN'S wife was once asked if she understood her husband's theory of
"No," she replied loyally, "but I know my husband and I know he can be trusted."
EINSTEIN once declared that his second greatest idea after the theory of relativity was to
add an egg while cooking soup in order to produce a soft-boiled egg without having an extra
pot to wash.
IN 1931 Charlie Chaplin invited Albert Einstein, who was visiting Hollywood, to a private
screening of his new film City Lights. As the two men drove into town together, passersby
waved and cheered. Chaplin turned to his guest and explained:
"The people are applauding you because none of them understands you and applauding
me because everybody understands me."
IN 1898, young Albert Einstein applied for admission to the Munich Technical Institute and
was turned down. The young man, the Institute declared, "showed no promise" as a student.
By 1905, he had formulated his special theory of relativity.
SIR WILLIAM Rothenstein was in Berlin doing a portrait of Einstein. The mathematician was
always accompanied to the studio by a solemn, academic looking individual who sat in a
corner throughout the sittings. Einstein, not wishing to waste any time, was putting forth
certain tentative theories, to which the silent companion replied only by an occasional nod
or shake of the head. When the work was concluded, Rothenstein, who was curious, asked
Einstein who his companion was.
"That's my mathematician," said Einstein, "who examines problems which I put before
him and checks their validity. You see, I am not myself a good mathematician . . ." [Of]
SHORTLY after the publication of Einstein's general theory of relativity in 1915, the
Russian mathematician Alexander Friedmann was surprised to discover that Einstein had failed
to notice a remarkable prediction made by his equations: that the universe is expanding.
This prediction was later confirmed by observations made by Edwin Hubble in the
The cause of Einstein's oversight? He had made a stupid error in his calculations:
He had divided by zero, which amounts to a big "sin" in mathematics.
"WHEN I was young I found out that the big toe always ends up making a hole in a sock,"
Einstein once recalled. "So I stopped wearing socks."
ONE OF Einstein's colleagues asked him for his telephone number one day. Einstein reached
for a telephone directory and looked it up. "You don't remember your own number?" the man
"No," Einstein answered. "Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a
In fact, Einstein claimed never to memorize anything which could be looked up in less than two minutes.