Albert Einstein


     Of all the scientists to emerge from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
there is one whose name is known by almost all living people. While most of
these do not understand this man's work, everyone knows that its impact on the
world of science is astonishing. Yes, many have heard of Albert Einstein's

General Theory of relativity, but few know about the intriguing life that led
this scientist to discover what some have called, "The greatest single
achievement of human thought." Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March

14, 1874. Before his first birthday, his family had moved to Munich where young

Albert's father, Hermann Einstein, and uncle set up small electro-chemical
business. He was fortunate to have an excellent family with which he held a
strong relationship. Albert's mother, Pauline Einstein, had an intense passion
for music and literature, and it was she that first introduced her son to the
violin in which hefound much joy and relaxation. Also, he was very close with
his younger sister, Maja, and they could often be found in the lakes that were
scattered about the countryside near Munich. As a child, Einstein's sense of
curiosity had already begun to stir. A favorite toy of his was his father's
compass, and he often marvelled at his uncle's explanations of algebra. Although
young Albert was intrigued by certain mysteries of science, he was considered a
slow learner. His failure to become fluent in German until the age of nine even
led some teachers to believe he was disabled. Einstein's post-basic education
began at the Luitpold Gymnasium when he was ten. It was here that he first
encountered the German spirit through the school's strict disciplinary policy.

His disapproval of this method of teaching led to his reputation as a rebel. It
was probably these differences that caused Einstein to search for knowledge at
home. He began not with science, but with religion. He avidly studied the Bible
seeking truth, but this religious fervor soon died down when he discovered the
intrigue of science and math. To him, these seemed much more realistic than
ancient stories. With this new knowledge he disliked class even more, and was
eventually expelled from Luitpold Gymnasium being considered a disruptive
influence. Feeling that he could no longer deal with the German mentality,

Einstein moved to Switzerland where he continued his education. At sixteen he
attempted to enroll at the Federal Institute of Technology but failed the
entrance exam. This forced him to study locally for one year until he finally
passed the school's evaluation. The Institute allowed Einstein to meet many
other students that shared his curiosity, and It was here that his studies
turned mainly to Physics. He quickly learned that while physicists had generally
agreed on major principals in the past, there were modern scientists who were
attempting to disprove outdated theories. Since most of Einstein's teachers
ignored these new ideas, he was again forced to explore on his own. In 1900 he
graduated from the Institute and then achieved citizenship to Switzerland.